June 27, 2014

No Gillian Tett, it was sordid practices in the world of bank regulations which caused the banks to implode.

Sir, in “Shine a light on the sharks that lurks in dark pools”, June 27, Ms Tett writes that “since 2008 regulators have battled to make credit and derivatives markets more transparent”. What? Has she not read how Basel III has introduced further really hard to understand distortions to the credit markets?

But of course, if she thinks that “banks imploded… because of sordid practices that had proliferated in the worlds of derivatives and debt” she might be excused… she has still not understood it, even though as an anthropologist she should stand a better chance to understanding it than the financial experts.

Ms Tett writes that “simply relying on the principle of caveat emptor to keep the system from becoming too opaque is naïve”… Why? Our problems started precisely when regulators forgot the principle of caveat emptor and naively started to believe credit rating agencies and what they themselves perceived were the risks and allowed for ridiculously low bank apital requirements for what they thought “absolutely safe”.

No, it was not sordid practices in the world of derivatives and debt that caused our banks to explode, no matter how much comfort Ms Tett might get from thinking that way, it was sordid practices in the world of regulations that did it… and unfortunately those practices still reign.