March 05, 2018

In terms of a short-termism that harms the long run, few are as guilty as current bank regulators.

Sir, Jonathan Ford quote US academic Lynn Stout with “The pressure to keep share prices high drives public companies to adopt strategies that harm long-term returns: hollowing out their workforce; cutting back on product support and on research and development; taking on excessive risks and excessive leverage; selling vital assets and even engaging in wholesale fraud.” “Shareholder primacy lies at heart of modern governance problem” March 5.

Indeed, but I hold that low investments and poor productivity is also the result of regulators’ risk weighted capital requirements for banks based on ex ante perceived risks. These focuses on making the banks safe today, at the price of making it all worse off tomorrow, ex post. How? Because they dangerously push banks to overpopulate, against especially little capital, those safe havens that have always been the main threats to our banking systems; and because they keep banks from exploring those risky bays, those with entrepreneurs and SMEs, those that could give us the growth and the jobs of tomorrow.