July 12, 2014

And what do we call when targets are completely missed but still no one fires back?

Sir, I refer to Tim Harford’s “When targets backfire” July 12 where he concludes in the importance of naming and shaming… providing an “embarrassment of indicators”. 

But what to do when targets are completely missed and no one fires back?

Like in the case of the risk-weighted capital requirements for banks which the Basel Committee uses as the pillar of their regulations… less ex ante perceived risk less capital – more ex ante perceived risk more capital.

With that they guarantee banks will stuff their balance sheets with anything that can be construed as absolutely safe, precisely the kind of assets that can cause disasters when ex post they turn out risky, and that, when that crisis happens, banks will stand there bare-naked without capital.

And that caused the current crisis but yet, the concocters of that have not been ashamed, instead they have been graciously retired, reassigned to build Basel III using the same failed principle or, like Mario Draghi, even promoted.

Frankly neither Hollywood nor Bollywood would have rewarded a Basel II box office flop that way.