Taskforce to help reopen securities market

Alistair Darling has revealed plans to set up a taskforce to help reopen the UK mortgage-backed securities market.

Sir James Crosby, deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority, will head the team.

The group, formed in response to the Housing Finance Review, will meet as soon as Crosby and the Treasury determine who will sit on the panel.

The Treasury says it will include representatives of both the mortgage and investment sectors in additions to representatives from the Bank of England, the Treasury and the FSA.

An interim report outlining plans and including a broad assessment of the issue is expected in the summer and will be closely followed by final details, in time for the pre-Budget report.

Darling says: “The recent and ongoing disruption in global financial markets has raised complex issues about the functioning of the mortgage-backed securities markets.

“I am delighted to announce that Sir James will chair the industry working group that will consider market-led initiatives to improve these markets. This work will be an important contribution to stabilising the cost and supply of UK mortgages.”

Sir Crosby adds: “I am pleased to be playing a part in this work. These difficulties stem from problems in the markets, so to be effective any proposals to deal with them must be market-developed and market-led.

“Our job in this group will be to facilitate a discussion between lenders, investors and the authorities with a view to identifying market-led solutions that will work.”