December 22, 2014

Mentally grey regulators make banks managers of retiree’s portfolios; and stop them from building future.

Sir Edward Luce argues that today’s pessimism, the western world’s “miserabilism”, results from us “growing older”, “Is the west clinically depressed”, December 22.

And Luce writes: “The greyer we become, the less we save. The less we save, the less we invest. The less we invest the slower we grow.”

But Luce forgets, or wishes to ignore, that the less we are willing to take risks, the more we will put the future behind us.

And that is precisely what have happened with or banks. Mentally greying regulators give banks huge incentives to avoid all what seems risky, like lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

That they do allowing much lower capital requirements for banks exposures perceived as safe; and which of course cause banks to make much higher risk-adjusted returns on equity on safe assets than on risky assets.

Can’t you hear them: “Lets squeeze the last ounce of safety we can get out of assets that seem safe today, even if that makes these more dangerous tomorrow, cause what only counts is for us to be more secure for the next few years…Après nous le deluge!”

I tell you Sir; anyone who has young children or grandchildren, and who does not criticize the castration of our banks performed by the Basel Committee and the Financial Stability Board, should be ashamed.