bank regulation

You know what would have made the financial crisis even more exciting? A proliferation of smaller British banks begging for a little help or full-on nationalization. In any event, the FSA is apparently going to keep busy right up until the moment that George Osborne shuts the lights. Read more »

Maybe this is just an effect of distance or translation, but one thing I really like about reading the fulminations of European politico-financey types is that they are savvier than their American counterparts about who to pick on. I never see a European politician or central banker quoted in the FT attacking poor children. They’ve got better scapegoats. Any time anyone says anything bad about European financial governance, they can go back to the well of “really this is all the fault of eeeevil financial speculators and ratings agencies.” And nobody likes those guys, because they’re eeeevil and dipshits, respectively.

So lots of European politico-financy types are very publicly very not amused by S&P’s threats to downgrade all of Europe, though I suspect that deep down a lot of them are excited to be able to spend today making fun of S&P rather than fielding serious questions about whether rising Italian yields are going to lead to trench warfare. So Christian Noyer of the Banque de France:

“The rating agencies were one of the motors of the crisis in 2008,” Mr Noyer said. “One can ask if they are not playing that role again today.”

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  • 02 Dec 2009 at 4:49 PM

London Calling, Brussels Ignoring

London Is Fading.jpgWill the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights?Not too many years ago, there was a serious discussion going on as to whether London had surpassed New York as the world’s great financial center. Unfortunately for proponents of the former, the U.K.’s European “allies” seem hell-bent on ensuring that the Big Apple has more to worry about from Singapore.
After losing its battle to keep an unfriendly Frenchman out of the EU’s top financial regulatory spot, the Brits were again rebuffed in their efforts to make it easier to ignore any untoward diktats from Brussels. So if when the new European Systemic Risk Board decides to step in, London’s going to have to garner the support of 13 other countries to get the ruling overturned. Britain had wanted that burden to fall on the regulator.
“The U.K. had some major difficulties in accepting that the new European bodies”–covering banking, securities, and insurance and pensions–“would be able to take decisions,” a guy from Luxembourg said. Luxembourg!

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