June 07, 2017

Feeble regulatory minds, seeing risks in what’s perceived risky, doom our banks to die trapped in the last safe-haven

Sir, Robin Wigglesworth quotes Paul Singer of Elliott Management with: “Given groupthink and the determination of policymakers to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent the next market ‘crash’, the low-volatility levitation magic act of stocks and bonds will exist until it does not. And then all hell will break loose” “Calm waters raise fears of a leverage comeback” June 7.

Indeed, only an intellectual degenerating incestuous groupthink can explain current bank regulators fixation with what is perceived risky. Their risk weighted capital requirements are based on the perceptions of risk being correct, while as all logic screams for, these should be based on the possibilities of these perceptions being incorrect. The riskier something is perceived, the safer it is; and the safer something is perceived, the more dangerous it can become. “May God defend me from my friends, I can defend myself from my enemies”, Voltaire dixit.

Those regulations, by favoring so much what is perceived, (concocted) or decreed as safe, like assigning a 0% risk weight to sovereigns, cause sovereigns to be getting too much credit on too easy terms; and that banks could end up holding only sovereigns on their balance sheets. When that happens who is going to be able to kick the can forward to another safe-haven (gold?), sovereigns or their central bank agents?

Sir, our whole banking system is set on a path that with signs of “follow this safe route”, leads directly to a precipice.

You insist in keeping mum about that. There will come a day you, or at least your children, will deeply regret that.

When will regulators stop feeding us fake tranquilizers?

“Risk weighting” So we are to suppose risks have been duly considered?

“Living wills” So we are supposed to think that trustees are capable to enforce these?

“Stress tests” Tests that ignore the stress to the real economy because of what should be on bank’s balance sheets but is not, like “risky” loans to SMEs?

Dodd-Frank’s “Orderly Liquidation Authority” “Orderly”? No Sir, when the last safe haven runs out of oxygen, I assure you it is going to be anything but orderly… then all hell will really break loose.

Per Kurowski