May 20, 2009

Rasputins versus Oligarchs

Sir John Kay in “Beware the bail-out kings and backbench barons”, May 20, refers to “Simon Johnson’s comparison of corporate financiers with Russian oligarchs”. Kay should not forget though that Simon Johnson, as a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, is part of that regulatory technocracy which played God and interfered with the risk allocation processes in the financial markets, in the most amazing way, by allowing for a 62.5 to 1 leverages (that in some cases can even reach 179 to 1) all based on some credit rating agencies awarding their triple-As... and helped to cause this mess.

In this respect the Rasputins have now a clear and vested interest in blaming the oligarchs in order to protect themselves. John Kay rightly says “We need to reassert the notion that roles of authority are positions of responsibility rather than declarations of personal merit and routes to personal enrichment.” And that should apply equally to bankers and regulators.