December 17, 2012

And Financial Times, FT, needs also to be clearer about what its own core business is

Sir, in “Banks must learn from past scandals” December 17, you write that banks must be clear about what their core business is, as “the desire to reinvent banking as a high-growth, high return business has bellied its true social function as a utility… to channel capital from those with savings to spare to those with investments to fund”. You also hold that “The pursuit of unrealistic returns seems to have entrenched a culture of recklessness.

Now explain to us why it has taken you in the Financial Times so long to get to this, and also why you leave the regulators out of the picture? Were they not those who regulated without saying a single word about the purpose of the banks; and who allowed incredible returns allowing incredible low capital requirements; and who with their capital requirements based on perceived risks created distortions that made it completely impossible for the banks to allocate economic resources efficiently?

And Financial Times needs also to be clearer about what its own core business is, as readers have deposited much trust in the Financial Times to speak out and inform them on all financial issues "without fear and without favour". And, on the issue of banking regulations, you have silenced some of the most fundamental criticism of it that I have been putting forward to you during many years, especially like how these distort, by favoring “The Infallible” and discriminating against “The Risky”.

You also write that the way current banking acts “is not something that can be changed by a few rule-tweaks.” But the truth is that some few rule tweaks could change a lot. For instance ask the banks to hold something like 8 to 12 percent in capital for all assets and you will immediately see mighty changes.