"We're politically accountable"

Politicians have been calling for banks to hold more capital as a quid pro quo for central bank injections of liquidity and the bail-outs of Bear Stearns and Northern Rock. Regulators are now reassessing capital requirements - and some acknowledge they are under political pressure to act quickly. By Duncan Wood


Eight short months after Enron's accounting shenanigans were first revealed to a furious public, politicians reacted by shackling listed companies in the US with a monolithic set of rules on accounting controls - the Sarbanes Oxley Act - which was hailed by George Bush at the time as "the most far-reaching reform of American business practices since the time of Franklin D Roosevelt". Four years later, the rules were widely despised and derided, and politicians had begun to call for them to be

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