February 14, 2015

But our besserwisser bank regulators express no doubts about what banks should do.

Sir, Henny Sender asks: “Which is better - to invest in the debt of lower-rated issuers because they offer more attractive absolute yields; or, to invest in the debt of higher-quality companies but do so with leverage in order to generate acceptable returns?”, “When investing is all about second-guessing the Federal Reserve” February 15.

I don’t know the answer… but bank regulators, with their portfolio invariant credit risk weighted equity requirements, imply they know that very well. They have definitely instructed the banks to go for high-quality-very-high-leverage... like for AAA-rated-securities and sovereigns. 

By the way Sir, with respect to second guessing the Fed: If I now bought a10-year US government bond which pays 1.97%, and the Fed’s declares its inflation target to be 2%, would that imply I am buying a preannounced haircut?