June 26, 2017

To restore real accountability in finance we must start with the bank regulators

Sir, Jonathan Ford writes: “Since the financial crisis, bank shareholders have borne pretty much the whole cost of cleaning up the reputational and legal damage done to the sector... the case must be focused on individuals simply to restore a sense of personal responsibility to finance. Bankers have escaped prosecution partly because of the law itself. There was nothing on the statute book to prohibit the mismanagement of big financial institutions.” “Restoring individual accountability in finance is worthy goal” June 26.

One reason for why that so necessary holding to account has not happened, might be the fact that the bankers “herded into the dock to face the music” could argue the following:

“Your Honor! Our regulators, those who explicitly or implicitly support us, those who tell governments and citizens they have everything under control, with Basel II in 2004, explicitly authorized us to leverage our capital 62.5 times or more whenever an AAA to AA rating was present, like the case of the securities backed with mortgages to the subprime sector, and to leverage even more with sovereign debt, like Greece.”

Sir, if there ever was a need to shame some in relation to the 2007/08 financial crisis, that would be its instigators, namely the Basel Committee and their bank regulating colleagues. Instead, like Mario Draghi, they were promoted.