Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Basel Committee, FSB and other bank regulators know dangerously little about risks. Why? Here it is!

What many perceive as very safe can lead to the build up of very large exposures that could threaten the bank system.

What many perceive as very risky never leads to the build up such large exposures that it could threaten the bank system.

Yet the Basel Committee, in Basel II of 2004, assigned a risk weight of only 20% to what rated AAA to AA and therefore so dangerous to the banking system, and one of 150% to what is rated below BB- and therefore so innocuous to the banking system.

The Basel Committee has refused to explain why they did so, and the only document purported to explain it, is pure GroupThink mumbo jumbo.

Additionally, risk weighted capital requirements for banks allow banks to leverage their equity differently with different assets, which produces quite different expected risk adjusted returns on equity than would have been the case in the absence of such regulations, and therefore this dramatically distorts the allocation of bank credit to the real economy. It introduced rampant risk aversion that have our banks no longer financing the riskier future, only refinancing the safer past.

Additionally, without obtaining due permission, the Basel Committee assigned a risk weight of 0% to a set of friendly sovereigns and 100% for the We the People of such sovereigns. This introduced rampant statism. As if government bureaucrats could use bank credit better than the private sector.

I have tried by all means possible to get explanations from the Basel Committee, even by using their formal consultation procedures, but all to no avail.

Please, you in the media who have more access to bank regulators ask them: Why do you think the below BB- rated are more dangerous to the bank system than the AAA rated?

Have you never heard of Voltaire’s “May God defend me from my friends, I can defend myself from my enemies”?

We also have John A Shedd (1850-1926) with his: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.”

With respect to that the Basel Committee is not only not allowing our banks to sail to explore riskier but perhaps more profitable bays, but it is also assuring to turn safe havens into overpopulated death traps. 

For our children and grandchildren’s case, help me to get rid of those dangerously incapable regulators.

P.S. Like during the Oscar it seems that at the Basel Committee there was also a mix-up of envelopes, in this case of those containing the names of what is the most and the least risky for our bank system. The saddest fact is that at the Oscar they got it fast, 2 minutes and 30 seconds, but in Basel they have yet to discover it after more than a decade.