August 24, 2017

It is in our best interest to keep Yellen, Draghi and other failed regulators out of tackling financial instability

Sir, I refer to Sam Fleming’s and Claire Jones “Yellen to tackle financial stability at Jackson Hole” August 24. Is the title a Freudian slip? Does “tackle” not refer to a problem, such as financial instability?

I argue that since Yellen, as part of that bank regulatory brotherhood that with risk weighted capital requirements for banks helped to cause financial instability, is simply not capable enough to help out achieving financial stability.

The idea of requiring banks to hold less capital (equity) against what is perceived, decreed or concocted as safe, like sovereigns, the AAArisktocracy and residential houses, than against what is perceived as risky, like SMEs and entrepreneurs, is absolutely cuckoo.

That means that when banks try to maximize their risk adjusted return on equity they can multiply (leverage) many times more the perceived net risk adjusted margins received from “the safe” than those from “the risky”. As a result clearly, sooner or later, the safe are going to get too much bank credit (causing financial instability) and the risky have, immediately, less access to it (causing a weakening of the real economy). 

Anyone who can as regulators did in Basel II, assign a 20% risk weight to what is AAA rated and to which therefore dangerously excessive exposures could be created, and 150% to what is made so innocuous to our banking systems by being rated below BB-, always reminds me of those in Monsters, Inc. who run scared of the children. I wish they stopped finding energy in the screams of SMEs and start using instead the laughters of these.

The report also includes a picture of some activists holding a “We need a people’s Fed”. Yes, we sure do! Assigning 0% risk weight to the sovereign and 100% to any unrated citizen is pure statist ideology driven discrimination in favor of government bureaucrats and against the people. But perhaps the activists depicted are not into that kind of arguments. 

Draghi and Yellen might discuss problems associated to ECB’s and Fed’s large exposures to sovereign that their QEs have caused. If they were honest about the size of the problem, they should in the same breath include all sovereign debts and excess reserves held by banks only because of a 0% risk weight. Sir, if that’s not financial instability in the making what is?

PS. Those in Monsters Inc. all finally figured it out. Our bank regulators in the Basel Committee and the Financial Stability Board have yet to do so, even 10 years after that crisis produced mostly by AAA rated securities and loans to sovereigns like Greece 😩