April 05, 2016

Would adequate SIFIs’ designations have helped to avert the last crisis? Of course not!

Sir, I refer to Patrick Jenkin’s “MetLife ruling poses threat to drive towards global financial stability” April 5.

Jenkin sounds very much upset: “This is absurd. The FSOC — with its expert mandate and responsibility for “identifying risks and responding to emerging threats to financial stability” — is being torpedoed by an inexpert judge.”

Sir, you know I hold that the regulator, the Basel Committee and friends, was the real responsible for the crisis that errupted in 2007-08. Its risk weighted capital requirements for banks distorted the allocation of bank credit to the real economy, and allowed banks to leverage absurdly much on assets deemed, decreed or concocted as safe… and all this when history clearly shows that “safe” assets is precisely the stuff that big bank crises are made of.

Had the oversized exposures to AAA rated securities and sovereigns to Greece anything to do with what the regulators now tries to catch with their SIFI methodology? No is the simple answer.

In fact working on how to manage SIFI’s, keeps regulators from working on mending their own mistakes. And frankly I see no reason for Jenkins to deposit so much naïve faith in the expertise of FSOC or FSB or any other member of the regulatory logia.

He writes “The time may have come for the G20 to give the FSB proper statutory powers to ensure shortsighted political interests do not put the world on the road to financial ruin once more”

He should know that there is nothing as shortsighted as the risk weighted capital requirements. These have stopped the banks from financing the risky future and have them only refinancing the, for the very short term, safer past.

If anything Sir, I would wish for that “inexpert judge” to also look into whether the unauthorized discrimination against the access to bank credit of the “risky”, which is imbedded in that regulation, should really be allowed in the Home of the Brave.

It is high time the world starts to reflect on whether it really wants to allow an Ultra Important Regulator to introduce, as it wishes and thinks fit, dangerous systemic risks into the banking system.

The absolute minimum we must ask for is for the regulator to first give us its working definition of what is the purpose of our banks, so to see if we agree.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.” John Augustus Shedd, 1850-1926

@PerKurowski ©