December 29, 2017

Financial liberalism died when the Basel Committee establishment concocted the risk weighted capital requirements for banks

Sir, Joe Zammit-Lucia writes: “True liberals have always understood the need for continual reform as stagnating systems inevitably get progressively captured by powerful interests. Liberalism dies when it becomes the Establishment, itself captured by vested interests and an apologia for the status quo” “True liberals understand the need for reform” December 29.

What better example of that than when the regulatory establishment, gathered in the mutual admiration club of the Basel Committee decided to protect with lower capital requirements for banks the lending to the safer status quo than any lending to a riskier future.

Bankers loved it, because that allowed them to fulfill their wet dreams of being able to achieve the highest risk adjusted returns on equity on what is perceived as safe; and lower capital requirements naturally opened up much more space for their own bonuses.

Regulators, dumb enough to take ex ante perceived risks to represent real ex post dangers love it, because they think they are making banks safer.

And the world stagnates because of that risk aversion, and turns statist as regulators risk-weighted sovereigns with a 0%, thereby subsidizing public borrowings.