Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mario Draghi, President of the ECB and Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board shows, again, he has dangerous little understanding about the true nature of systemic risks.

Systemic risk refers to the risk of a breakdown of an entire system rather than simply the failure of individual parts. In a financial context, it captures the risk of a cascading failure in the financial sector, caused by interlinkages within the financial system, resulting in a severe economic downturn.”


1. “The need for high-quality data: Policymakers’ ability to act hinges crucially on the availability of high-quality data. Data allow policymakers to identify, analyse and quantify emerging risks. Data also provide policymakers with the necessary knowledge to be able to target and calibrate their tools and to be aware of possible spillovers, or attempts to circumvent regulations”

a. The more you believe you are in possession of “high-quality data” the more you set yourself up for a systemic risk, like when banks were led by their regulators to believe that risk of assets rated AAA were minimal.

b. The more regulators might be tempted to “target and calibrate their tools” without considering how the markets might already have calibrated and targeted that “high-quality data”, the more they might generate the systemic risk of giving that “high-quality data” excessive consideration. Like when bank regulators based their risk weighted capital requirements basically on the same credit risk bankers were already perceiving and clearing for.

2. “Reflecting the targeted nature with which macroprudential policy can be applied, some countries have considered varying implementation by geographical area, to strengthen the impact on local hotspots. These policy actions have helped mitigate movements in real estate prices.”

But trying to contain “hotspots” and not allowing the market to determine the movements of real estate prices contains the clear and present systemic risk of pushing credit into “weak-spots” and not where it could be mots useful for the economy. Like when bank regulators by giving preferential risk weights to the “safe” sovereign and “safe” houses, negates credit to the “risky” entrepreneurs.

3. “Non-bank finance is playing an increasingly important role in financing the economy. Policymakers need a comprehensive macroprudential toolkit to act in case existing risks migrate outside the banking sector or new risks emerge.And that means widening the toolkit so that policymakers are able to effectively confront risks emerging beyond the banking sector.”

No, regulators who have not been able to regulate banks, and caused the 2008 crisis, and caused the tragedy of Greece, have not earned the right to expand their regulatory franchise anywhere.

4. “Conclusion: Policymakers across Europe have proven willing to use macroprudential policy to address risks and vulnerabilities. These measures have helped counter the build-up of risks”

NO! Regulators who still use risk weighted capital requirements based on that what is perceived as risky is more dangerous to our bank system than what is perceived as safe, have no idea about basic macroprudential policies.

NO! Regulators who still believe that with their risk weighted capital requirements for banks they can distort the allocation of credit without weakening the real economy, have no idea about basic macroprudential policies.



Sunday, September 2, 2018

Had there been a Basel Committee on Tennis Supervision, Roger Federer would be history by now.

The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS) in order to make bank systems safer imposed risk weighted bank capital requirements. The lower the perceived risk the lower the capital the higher the leverage allowed. The higher the perceived risk the more capital the lower leverage allowed. 

For example, in Basel II of June 2004 they held that against any private sector asset that was rated AAA to AA banks needed to hold 1.6% in capital, meaning they were allowed to leverage 62.5 times. Against any private sector asset that was rated below BB- banks needed to hold 12% in capital, meaning they were allowed to leverage 8.3 times. 

In terms of tennis that would mean that those players ranked the highest would be able to play with the best rackets, and be allowed many more serves than those player ranked lower. Someone not only unranked but also lousy player like me would be happy to have one serve and at least be allowed a to uses a ping-pong racket if playing against Roger Federer. 

But what would have happened if there had been a Basel Committee on Tennis Supervision that implemented these regulations?

To make a long story short, the best tennis players would have it easier and easier to win, and would have less and less need to practice. Those betting on them would bet ever-larger amounts at ever-lower odds… until “Boom!” (2008 Crisis) suddenly the best player was discovered to completely have lost his ability to play and lost in three blank sets to a newcomer.