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US regulations to reduce banking M&A activity

The regulatory environment within the banking industry is set to impact high-level bank mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the US, an expert has revealed.

Kenneth Jacobs, chief executive of Lazard, told the Financial Times that there is a "real reluctance" from regulators to let banks described as "too big to fail" get any bigger.

Mr Jacobs added: "I don’t think we're going to see high-level activity."

Bank mergers have been on hold in recent months as organisations await the arrival of new rules and regulations, with the merger between M&T Bank and Hudson City Bancorp being hard hit.

Mr Jacobs explained there will be a "steady stream in the small to mid-size range" of financial services deals, but that outside the banking industry there will be a little more flexibility.

“What we’re starting to see now is a bit more optimism about [economic] recovery in the US,” said Mr Jacobs, and that should help to drive activity this year.

By Gary Cooper