October 18, 2016

Why is it so hard to understand that risks should not only be correctly perceived but also correctly considered?

Sir, Patrick Jenkins, discussing the Basel Committee’s push “to finalise another leg of post-crisis global financial reform” writes that “financial and economic stability is more important than a blinkered crackdown.”, “Basel Committee boss needs to reconsider hard line on reform” October 18.

What? “financial AND economic stability”? That’s a new one. Until now it has only been financial stability, which is why regulators (and journalists) have not cared to analyze how much current bank regulations distort the allocation of credit to the real economy. For instance Stefan Ingves, the chair of the Swedish Riksbank and of the Basel Committee, seems not to understand at all that the so much lower risk weight assigned to financing houses (35% in Basel II), when compared to the risk weight when financing SMEs (100%), has something to do with prices of houses going up and up, and the credits to SMEs going down and down.

Jenkins, on the possibility of part of the capital requirements to be based on the conduct of the banks, like misdeeds, argues: “The logic is flawed”, since “basing future capital demands on past fines duplicates the impact of a penalty”.

Indeed, but why Sir is it so hard for Jenkins, for the Basel Committee, for you and for all other in FT to understand that, basing capital requirements on ex ante perceived credit risks already cleared for by banks with interest rates and size of exposures, also “duplicates the impact” of perceived credit risks?

Is it really so hard to understand that any risk, even if perfectly perceived, causes faulty actions, if that risk is excessively considered?

@PerKurowski ©