Sunday, July 14, 2013

14/7/2013: Banking Reforms : recent links

Some recent articles on Banks Reforms in the global and EU context:

"A viable alternative to Basel III prudential rules" by Stefano Micossi (9 June 2013) argues that Basel III "…proposed reforms will fail to correct flaws in the old system. The new rules are even more complicated, opaque and open to manipulation. What is needed is a radical shift to prudential rule based on a straight capital ratio."

And in a typically Bruegelesque fashion, "Basel III: Europe’s interest is to comply" by Nicolas Véron (5 March 2013) argues that since "the EU was once a champion of global financial regulatory convergence", then "the EU should drop its lacklustre inertia and pursue Basel III because, in the end, it’s in its interests to comply. EU policymakers ought to aim at enabling the adoption of a Capital Requirements Regulation that would be fully compliant with Basel III."

His colleague, Daniel Gros is of a view that diversification is a good thing, but diversification not i regulatory space. In his "EZ banking union with a sovereign virus" (14 June 2013) he argues that: "The doom-loop between banks and the national governments played a dominant role in the Eurozone crisis for Ireland and Cyprus. A Eurozone banking union is usually viewed as the solution. This column argues that the doom-loop cannot be undone as long as banks hold oversized amounts of their government’s debt. A simple solution would be to apply the general rule that banks are prohibited from holding more than a quarter of their capital in government bonds of any single sovereign." Here's the problem, however, in both Cyprus and Ireland sovereign bonds holdings of own governments were not a problem. In Cyprus the problem was holding of Greek Government bonds, and in Ireland, the contagion mechanism was from inter-bank lending and banks' own bonds issuance to the sovereign via a blanket 2008 Guarantee.

"Implementation of Basel III in the US will bring back the regulatory arbitrage problems under Basel I" by Takeo Hoshi (23 December 2012) says that "rejigging financial regulation is in vogue. But, in the world of international finance, how well do different regulatory systems join up?" In the US context, the author "argues that the US Dodd Frank Act and Basel III are, in part, incompatible and that harmonising them may lead to unintended consequences. The US ought to tread carefully here but should also try hard to maintain the spirit of better financial regulation."

There's a huge amount of opinion published on on bank regulation:

ZeroHedge classic: "The Secret Sauce Of Iceland's Success Story: Debt Liquidation?" argues that "That Iceland is so far the only success story in the continent of Europe, which continues sliding into an ever deeper depressionary black hole, as a result of the complete destruction of its financial sector and its subsequent rise from the ashes, is by known to most. …As it turns out, perhaps the biggest jolt to Icelandic economic growth is what we said was the correct prescription for resolving not only the US but global growth malaise that struck in 2008: debt liquidation."

Irish Times covers the outright bizarre and sublimely ironic day-dreaming that is going on in Ireland's highest policy circles. The latests instalment is transformation of the IFSC into a sort of "We've screwed up so comprehensively, we can sell this as competence" story:

Pearls of wisdom: "Ryan’s paper makes eight proposals, including “relaunching the IFSC brand” along product lines – global asset finance, a global servicing platform and a global listing platform." All of which have been already in place for years to various success. "The document recommends the creation of a JobsHub to allow firms seeking staff to “find people quickly and cost effectively”." Other things: setting up IFSC as a centre for 'bad banks' on foot of 'experience already present in NAMA'. This is the logic of converting Dublin Bay into a global toxic refuse dump for the UK and European waste disposal, because we 'already have considerable expertise' at the Poolbeg waste facilities. And last, but not least: converting IFSC into "global centre of excellence for property"… Even the Irish Times could not have escaped the obvious irony present in this idea.

Last, but not least, Bloomberg report on Michel Barnier balmy ideas on 'Bank-Crisis' plans for the EU: from July 9. "The European Union’s executive arm proposed procedures for handling failing banks with a 55 billion-euro ($70 billion) backstop, setting up a showdown with Germany over control of taxpayers’ cash." Good summery of current play on this.

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