November 25, 2014

Simon Samuels, bank regulators’ own ‘risk culture’ is as bad as it gets

Sir, Simon Samuel’s holds that “the driver of bank failure is not insufficient capital but rather a bad ‘risk culture’”, “A culture ratio is more important than a capital ratio”, November 25.

Absolutely, just like it is not the risk of the assets that a bank has on its books that matters, but how the bank manages those risks.

And in this respect no ‘risk culture’ has been as bad and damaging than that of bank regulators who came up with portfolio invariant ex ante perceived credit risk weighted equity requirements for banks.

With it they gave incentives for banks to accumulate dangerous high exposures against little equity in assets like loans to Greece or AAA rated securities.

And with it, by making it easier and cheaper for the “infallible” sovereigns and the AAAristocracy to access bank credit, and thereby much harder to do so for the peasants, our small businesses and entrepreneurs, they also imposed destructive financial feudalism 

Simon Samuels would do good looking at what he himself and his colleagues are up to in the Financial Stability Board, and in the Basel Committee, since only excessive hubris could explain them thinking themselves able to play risk managers for the banks of the world.