http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-...-police-nearby-shows-flaw-of-light-touch.html Light Touch The scandal demonstrates the failure of London’s two-decade experiment with light-touch supervision, which helped make the British capital the biggest trading hub in the world. In his 10 years as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown championed this approach, hailing a “golden age” for the City of London in a June 2007 speech. Even after the FSA pledged to toughen its rules following the 2008 financial crisis, supervisors failed to act on warnings that the benchmark was being manipulated. Regulators have known since at least August 2007 that banks were using artificially low Libor submissions to appear healthier than they were. That month, a Barclays employee in London e-mailed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, questioning the numbers that other banks were inputting, according to transcripts published by the New York Fed. Nine months later, Tim Bond, then head of asset allocation at Barclays’s investment bank, publicly described the Libor figures as “divorced from reality,” saying in a Bloomberg Television interview that firms were routinely misstating their borrowing costs to avoid the perception they were facing stress. The New York Fed and the Bank of England say they didn’t act because they had no responsibility for oversight of Libor. That fell to the British Bankers’ Association, the industry lobbying group that created the rate and largely ignored recommendations from central bankers after 2008 to change the way the benchmark is computed. Regulators also were preoccupied with the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, and forcing banks to be honest about their Libor submissions might have revealed they were paying penalty rates to borrow.