Ring-Fence: Definition in Finance Accounting and Legality

by Bewealth

What Does Ring-Fence Indicate?

The time interval ring-fence refers again to the creation of a digital barrier that segregates a portion of a corporation’s financial property from the rest. This may be completed to order money for a selected perform, to chop again taxes on the particular person or agency, or to protect the property from losses incurred by riskier operations. Transferring a portion of property offshore to chop again an investor’s net worth or lower the taxes due on income is one occasion of ring-fencing.

Key Takeaways

  • A hoop-fence is a defending switch in finance that segregates just a few of a corporation’s property from others.
  • Offshore banking is often often known as ring-fencing property.
  • Ring-fencing can defend a portion of property from some risks.

Understanding Ring-Fences

The time interval has its origins inside the ring-fences that are constructed to keep up cattle in and predators out. In financial accounting, it is used to clarify numerous strategies that are employed to protect a portion of property from being blended with the rest.

Ring-fencing would possibly include transferring a portion of property from one high-tax jurisdiction to a unique with lower or no taxes or a lot much less onerous guidelines. In several circumstances, it could be used to keep up the money in reserve for a selected perform. It moreover is also completed to make the money unavailable for yet another perform.

That’s the intent of the British ring-fencing laws, which went into impression initially of 2019. It requires financial institutions to ring-fence their shopper banking actions to protect purchaser monetary establishment deposits from potential funding banking losses. The institutions had been compelled to recreate their banking arms as separate entities, each with its private board.

The laws intends to forestall one different monetary establishment bailout similar to the one which adopted the 2008 financial catastrophe. The federal authorities bailout was compelled by the perceived vulnerability of strange clients and their monetary financial savings to a collapse of the big banking institutions.

Britain handed a laws firstly of 2019 that requires financial institutions to ring-fence their regularly banking actions from their funding arms. Ring-fencing kicks in for banks which have better than ¡ê25 billion in core deposits.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ring-Fencing


One in every of many primary benefits of using ring-fencing as a way is that it provides a layer of security over positive enterprise property. It protects these property from market menace, volatility, taxation, insolvency, and even seizures.

This system moreover helps maintain the financial system sound and helps current banks with a safety net. That’s on account of core property are shielded from non-core ones to cease any primary ripple impression when the monetary system tanks as a result of it did sooner than the Good Recession. This locations a lot much less of an onus on taxpayers if banks succumb to monetary pressure ultimately the equivalent method they did when the federal authorities wanted to bail them out after the financial catastrophe.


The premise behind ring-fencing is that it separates core property, much like retail banking, from these that are deemed to be non-core property like funding arms. The difficulty with that’s that separating groups of property would possibly lead to a reduction in oversight and the weakening of menace administration.

Banks and completely different organizations that are required to ring-fence would possibly profit from the reality that they should separate their property, which can lead to a useful end function. This consists of additional favorable tax treatment within the occasion that they switch their non-core property offshore, which can lead to a drop in tax revenue for the home nation.


  • Protects in the direction of positive risks

  • Ends in a safer and protected financial system


  • Reduces oversight and weakens menace administration

  • Transferring positive property offshore would possibly lead to drop in tax revenue

Offshore Ring-Fencing

The time interval is often used inside the U.S. to clarify the swap of property from one jurisdiction to a unique, usually offshore, in order to chop again an investor’s verifiable income or reduce the investor’s tax bill. It moreover is also used to defend some property from seizure by debtors.

It could possibly be licensed to ring-fence property to chop again taxation or avoid regulation as long as it stays all through the bounds set inside the authorized tips and guidelines of the home nation. The limit often is a positive proportion of the annual net worth of the enterprise or explicit particular person, which implies that the dollar amount will fluctuate over time.

Ring-fencing might describe earmarking property for a particular perform. As an illustration, a monetary financial savings account is also ring-fenced for retirement. A company would possibly ring-fence its pension fund to protect it from being drained for various enterprise expenditures.

What Is the Aim of Ring-Fencing?

The primary function of ring-fencing is to separate one group of property from one different. That’s often completed to keep up core property protected towards volatility and completely different risks. Ring-fencing is frequent with banks when core retail banking segments are separated from their funding arms in the event that they’re deemed “too large to fail.” This layer of security shields the taxpayer (and the federal authorities) from bearing the financial burden of bailing out banks inside the event of an monetary catastrophe.

Why Was Ring-Fencing Launched within the UK?

Ring-fencing was launched by the British authorities in January 2019. The aim is to strengthen the nation’s banking and financial system by requiring banks to divide their core retail banking from completely different divisions, much like worldwide and funding actions. Doing this helps defend the retail banking sector from the monetary establishment’s riskier ventures.

What Is the British Authorities’s Threshold for Ring-Fencing?

The British authorities launched a ¡ê25 billion threshold on core deposits when it utilized the ring-fencing rule in January 2019. Which suggests eligible banks ought to ring-fence property above this limit as of 2023. This threshold might very nicely be raised to ¡ê35 billion because the federal authorities is reviewing proposals to extra strengthen the nation’s banking and financial sector.

The Bottom Line

Harmful funding ventures and an absence of oversight led to primary losses, failing banks, and bailouts by means of the financial catastrophe, which in flip led to a years-long recession in a number of worldwide areas. That’s the reason ring-fencing was launched in worldwide areas just like the UK. In worldwide areas that require ring-fencing, it targets to protect the core retail function of banks, which is deemed a crucial part of the financial commerce. It moreover helps defend taxpayers from the heavy burden of attending to bail out banks inside the event of an monetary catastrophe.

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