January 19, 2018

Will Davos 2018, again ignore the financial weapon of mass destruction concocted by the Basel Committee populists?

Sir, Gillian Tett when commenting the concerns that will be expressed at the 2018 Davos meetings writes “The biggest perceived danger of 2018, in terms of impact, is that somebody uses weapons of mass destruction”, Holy moly! and ends with: “keep a close eye on what Davos is not worrying about enough this year: that pesky matter of global finance, particularly in places such as China.” “Populist swing alarms financial titans” January 19.

My concern though is that the technocratic and hubristic populism, proclaimed by the Basel Committee will again not be denounced in Davos, perhaps because doing so might be deemed ungentlemanly or ungentlewomanly behavior in such fine surroundings.

I refer of course to their promise that distorting bank credit with risk weighted capital requirements for banks will make our banks safer.

Higher capital requirements for what’s “risky”, has caused among other that millions of entrepreneurs, those on which so much of our economic future depends, have seen their credit applications rejected or not even received by banks.

Lower capital requirements for what’s “safe”, has among other, helped to fuel house prices which has overloaded that sector with mortgages that, within a future subprime economy, seem impossible to service.

And let’s not even talk about what the 0% risk weight awarded to sovereigns has done in terms of statism and of blurring the risk free rates.

Sir, no doubt about it, the risk weighted capital requirements for banks, is a weapon of financial mass destruction.

Did we not see it explode with AAA rated securities that banks were allowed to leverage 62.5 times with?

Did we not see it explode in Greece with sovereign debt that European regulators allowed their banks to hold against no capital at all?

If a regulator is incapable to provide a clear answer to: “Why do you want banks to hold more capital against what has been made innocous by being perceived as risky, than against what is dangerous because it is perceived as safe?” should he not be fired Sir?


PS. On the same page Philip Stephens writes:” The World Economic Forum and the Davos crowd pride themselves on their globalism has set itself the fearsome task of mapping “a shared future in a fractured world”. “Trump, Davos and the special relationship”. The risk weighted capital requirements, which favor refinancing of the “safer” present over financing the “riskier” future, is fracturing the world and causing the future to produce less and less of what could be shared.