Wednesday, August 22, 2007

But what are the non-professionals to do?

FT reporting August 22 on “IMF warns of risks to global growth” mentions that John Lipsky, the number two official at the International Monetary Fund, seemingly quite unseemly washing his hands in relation to the issue whether the credit rating agencies have done their job well said “The basic issue is that in the end, professional investors bear ultimate responsibility for risk assessment and management in a securitised market. It is not realistic to expect third parties to take that responsibility.”

There is of course nothing to object to that statement, c´est la vie, but it clearly leaves a question or two about what to do with all those who are not professional investors or that just thought they were and who followed the advice of the credit rating agencies just as the bank regulatory authorities, and the IMF, told them to do. Is the IMF now arguing for two lender of last resort now? One booth for the professionals and one for the credit rating agency followers?