May 15, 2012

Yet Jamie Dimon knows immensely more of his business than the regulators do of theirs.

Sir, in “JPMorgan takes a salutary stumble” May 15, you hold that “Bank’s loss illustrates why its boss is wrong on regulation”. Mr. Dimon must certainly be wrong in many ways, at least I have never thought him or anyone else as infallible, but, let me assure that if it is about getting it wrong on regulations, then the regulators are the champs. 

You mention “reckless practices to reduce risk” and in this I believe we have never ever seen something as reckless as our current regulators. They allowed the banks to hold minimum capital requirements for what they from the outside considered as safer lending than other, without giving a thought to the fact that the perceptions on risks had already been cleared for by the bankers, and that this would alter the whole dynamics of the market. 

If I was a shareholder of JPMorgan I would most probably wish for Jamie Dimon to remain as its head, but, as a citizen, I have no doubt I would sack most of our current dumb regulators. 

Do we not need to reign in the too-big-to-fail? Of course we do! But there are wise ways and there are reckless dumb ways of doing that. A wise way begins by eliminating all the growth-hormones that have made them so big, like ultralow capital requirements, the dumb way is to give them a special treatment, like is now proposed under the systemic approach, and which will only result in making them bigger and more dangerous.