November 05, 2014

What would Luke Johnson, Richard Branson, President Reagan and Lord Keynes say about Basel Committee’s risk aversion?

Sir Luke Johnson refers to that if entrepreneurs such as the Virgin founder, Richard Branson “did not take big gambles, society as a whole would be worse off” “The Virgin Galactic crash and the need for risk-takers” November 5.

And Johnson also writes: “pride and arrogance are required if the status quo is to be challenged with radical new ideas; after all, weak characters give up too soon – harried by regulators, safety obsessives and the overcautious. Change is never easy, but it must be embraced unless we want a life of stagnation and retreat.”

And he quotes President Reagan in that: “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave”, and John Maynard Keynes in that: “If the animal spirits are dimmed and the spontaneous optimism falters, leaving us to depend on nothing but a mathematical expectation, enterprise will fade and die.”

Well contrast all that to the fact that current bank regulators, with their credit-risk-weighted equity requirements, are telling the banks that if they lend to what is perceived as absolutely safe, then they will be able to earn much higher risk adjusted returns on equity than if lending to what is perceived as risky.

I am doing what I can, but FT, how is it that you cannot find it in yourselves to protest regulations that slowly but surely, creating artificial risk-aversion, are killing our economies and perhaps even our civilization?