August 12, 2014

We must stop building that mountain of dangerous elusive safety that is sure to crumble and fall on us.

Sir, I refer to Tracy Alloway’s and Michael MacKenzie´s “Finance: The FICC and the dead” August 12.

In October 2004, in a formal written statement delivered at the World Bank as an Executive Director, I warned

“I believe that much of the world’s financial markets are currently being dangerously overstretched through an exaggerated reliance on intrinsically weak financial models that are based on very short series of statistical evidence and very doubtful volatility assumptions.”

I have of course been much ignored ever since, as it is not considered comme il faut to be too right especially in the company of credited experts.

But Sir, now we are back to that period, and again… and it is not that the waves have disappeared… it is that the wave is building up… Just you wait ´enry ´igggins, just you wait, until it breaks.

When bank regulators with their risk-weighted capital requirements of Basel II basically ordered banks to stay away from what is "risky"… and now make those orders even more imperative with the liquidity requirements in Basel III, and when we now read about asset managers “steering clear of certain bonds, such as asset-backed instruments whose so-called secondary markets are not deep” one thing is clear… and that is… the world is trying to build a more and more, a higher and higher, mountain of safe assets.

Perhaps something on its very top and its very center might survive, but the rest is going to come crumbling down… sooner or later, there is just not enough safety material to go around for that kind of mountain.

They seek it here. They seek it there. Those Basel bank regulators seek it everywhere. Is it in heaven? Is it in hell? That damned elusive bank stability… (which does not even have the decency to rhyme!)