January 11, 2017

If regulators keep on regulating as bad as now, will it really help much to ringfence the banks?

Sir, you write: “By the start of 2019, Britain’s largest lenders will need to put their retail banking units inside a heavily capitalised subsidiary, protecting them in case the group fails.”, “Ringfencing will help in the next banking crisis”, January 10.

Do you really think that as long as government/tax-payers are not exposed to having to pay for a bank crisis, then its effects are smaller? If so, why did you not say so before lending support to governments and central banks, on behalf of unwilling or at least un-consulted taxpayers, with Tarp and QEs and similar paying out so much to alleviate the last crisis?

You refer to the Vickers Commission with admiration I do not share. In June 2015, in one of my thousands of ignored letters to you, when commenting on one of Martin Wolf articles I wrote: “The number one priority for any bank regulator, long before thinking about ring-fencing and similar “safety” devices, is to make sure the allocation of bank credit to the real economy is not distorted. To look for banks to be able to survive in shining armor in the midst of the rubbles of a destroyed economy is just insane.”

Sir, I’ve seen very little rectification coming out from bank regulators. Worse yet, the few correct movements they have done in moving towards simpler leverage ratios, because they kept in place some risk-weighting element, have in fact, on the margin, only increased the distortions in the allocation of bank credit to the real economy.

FT, in this matter of Basel’s bank regulations, you are so behind the curve. As is, I am almost tempted to say: “No ringfencing, let the banks run loose, with no supervision!”