July 23, 2009

FT is at long last very close to getting it, come on just one more push!

Sir about six years and 300 letters of mine later you are finally asking to “cut back the credit rating agencies quasi-public authority” Raters berated, July 23. A bit slow, and thick, but, nonetheless, well done!

Having said that when you refer to the EU’s recent directive on capital ratios I see you are still harbouring some confusion. Let me try to explain it again… letter 301?

The regulators arbitrarily imposed distortions in the financial markets when they decided, for instance, that in order to lend to a non-rated borrower a bank needed 8 percent in equity while for a triple-A rated only 1.6 percent is required. Even if the EU now rules that the banks cannot, no matter what, leverage themselves over some maximum figure, but leave otherwise intact the current structure of minimum capital requirements then, on the margin, all the distortions remain. You see in finance and in so many other things in life it is the marginal decision that counts.

By the way… is a job in a triple-A rated company more worth to defend than a job in a B- company? The regulators in Basel seem to think so.