Bank of England
When the Bank of England handed over the reins to Mark Carney, it presumably did so, at least in part, as a recognition of his success at his native Bank of Canada. But what is good for the former dominion may not be so great for the former imperial power, and certain people are not impressed. Read more »
When your economy has ground to a standstill and stayed there for a period of years, it would make sense to cast about for a new central banker whose approach was somewhat different. And by different we mean more successful. Read more »
Bankers’ pay needs to be curbed further to reflect the risk of a bank failure many years after a bonus has been awarded, the Bank of England (BoE) said before the annual bonus season begins next month. The European Union has already introduced curbs on bankers’ bonuses after huge payouts were criticized for helping to create the climate that led to the financial crisis in 2008. Bank shareholders, too, expressed dismay at large bonuses for bank employees despite poor returns. Measures taken so far include the requirement for a portion of bonuses to be paid in shares over several years, but the BoE’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) believes that these do not go far enough. Chunks of a bonus are typically deferred for only three years. The FPC, which takes over British bank regulation next year, said that this is not sufficient to deter bankers from taking risky decisions that can have an adverse impact many years later. [Reuters]
Aaahhh I love the Bank of England’s latest Financial Stability Report. I mean: I haven’t read it, per se. But it follows the wonderful official-sector-report layout of blandly apocalyptic text running down the right side and lovely charts running down the left, so you can close one eye and it’s a delight. The charts are a nice mix of (1) visually displaying quantitative information and (2) not:
The gist of the report is, as the Journal puts it:
U.K. banks may be misleading investors over the true state of their financial health, the Bank of England said Thursday, in its starkest warning yet to banks to restore investor confidence and get credit flowing.
“One factor which may make stated levels of capital misleading is under-recognition of expected future losses on loans,” the committee said in the BOE’s twice-yearly Financial Stability Report.Banks may be further overstating their health by making “aggressive” use of risk weights used to determine how much capital different categories of loan require, officials added.
And here’s the bottom-line recommendation: Read more »
Ben Bernanke gave another Augustinian give-us-QEn-but-not-yet* speech at Jackson Hole today and you could go read it but honestly why would you, you know what it says, which is “everything is bad, but not as bad as it could be, and we want to make it a bit better, but only once it’s gotten a bit worse.” Moving right along.
To Andrew Haldane’s speech, which is a treat! It is here and its title is “The dog and the frisbee,” so obviously he had Dealbreaker on his side right there. Haldane, the Bank of England’s financial-stability guy, basically argues that while the financial system is complex, it should be regulated simply – “As you do not fight fire with fire, you do not fight complexity with complexity” – just as a dog uses only elementary trigonometry and differential calculus to solve the complex and multivariate problem of catching a frisbee.**
Haldane’s main example of overcomplexity in regulation is risk-based capital regulation, in which the Basel accords have moved from simple leverage tests – common equity divided by total assets – to complicated tests where the numerator is made up of different tiers of capital and the denominator uses risk-weights that are largely driven by the bank’s own models of riskiness. One thing you could do is compare the performance of those measures in the recent crisis, so he did. Here is how Basel risk-based capital did:
That looks bad and also is bad, with no statistically significant difference between banks that blew up and banks that did not. This is just boring leverage: Read more »