Tuesday, January 25, 2011

25/01/2011: Just how independent is the EU's Systemic Risk Board

On January 20 there was a momentous occasion in Europe. After years of crisis, bent on preventing another financial meltdown in the future, the EU unveiled the first sitting of the new super-regulatory/supervisory body - the European Systemic Risk Board.

Here is the press release from the EU official site with emphasis and comments added by me:

"The General Board of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) held its inaugural meeting today at the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt am Main. The meeting led to a number of decisions on the set-up and functioning of the Board:
...
  • Mr Marek Belka, Governor of the Narodowy Bank Polski; Mr Mario Draghi, Governor of the Banca d’Italia; Mr Athanasios Orphanides, Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus; Mr Axel Weber, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank; were elected members of the Steering Committee for three years. [Note that all members of the Steering Committee are Central Bankers, hence not independent from the ECB]

  • Mr Stefan Ingves, Governor of the Sveriges Riksbank was elected Chair of the Advisory Technical Committee for three years. [Again the above comment applies]

The ESRB is an independent EU body responsible for the macro-prudential oversight of the financial system within the Union. The ESRB is located in Frankfurt am Main and its Secretariat is provided by the European Central Bank.

The Chair of the ESRB is the President of the European Central Bank, Mr Jean-Claude Trichet. The first Vice-Chair of the ESRB is Mr Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England. He was elected by the members of the General Council of the ECB on 16 December 2010 for five years. The second Vice-Chair of the ESRB will be the Chair of the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities.

The General Board consists of the following members with voting rights: the President and the Vice-President of the European Central Bank (ECB); the Governors of the national central banks of the EU Member States; one member of the European Commission; the Chairperson of the European Banking Authority (EBA); the Chairperson of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA); the Chairperson of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA); the Chair and the two Vice-Chairs of the Advisory Scientific Committee (ASC); the Chair of the Advisory Technical Committee (ATC). The following members have no voting rights: one high-level representative per Member State of the competent national supervisory authorities; and the President of the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC)." (end quote)


So in a summary: the ESRB is composed of:

  • National CBs and supervisory authorities (subject to ECB control)
  • ECB members
  • EU Commission representatives
  • EU industry quangoes
And this is called 'independent'?
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