December 16, 2017

How long will regulators believe that unrated entrepreneurs pose more danger to banks than investment graded companies?

Sir, Brooke Masters writes that “a group of banks collectively lent €1.6bn to a South African billionaire. At the time, these “margin loans” looked like really safe bets because the lending was secured by 628m Steinhoff shares worth €3.2bn and the company had an investment-grade rating” and now they “were sitting on paper losses of €1.2bn” “Beware of top execs who depend on share-backed loans”, December 16.

Sir, this just another evidence of that what is really dangerous for banks is not what is perceived risky but what could erroneously be perceived as safe. And therefore that the current risk weighted capital requirements for banks makes absolutely no sense?

Sir, why is it so hard for you to ask regulators: “Is it not when banks perceive something as safe that we would like for these to hold the most capital?”

Are you afraid they will give you a convincing answer and leave you standing there as a fool? Don’t you think that if they had had an answer they would have shut me up decades ago?

Simon Kuper in today’s FT writes about how America an Britain have fallen into the hands of incompetent amateurish well-off baby boomer politicians, born between 1946 and 1964, “Brexit, Trump and a generation of incompetents”.

Sir why could that not also be applicable to baby boomer regulators, like for instance Mario Draghi, Stefan Ingves or Mark Carney?

PS. We should note though that it was a pre-baby-boomer generation’s Paul Volcker and Robin Leigh-Pemberton who were responsible for the origins of this monumental regulatory faux pas.