Corporate governance of banks: Risk appetite as a pre-commitment mechanism

Patricia Jackson 13 October 2014

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Since the Global Crisis the authorities have been focusing on how to make banks safer, with changes to capital and liquidity requirements. Corporate governance of banks and the wider risk culture are also in the frame. Laeven and Ratnovski (2014) look at governance and raise three aspects: better risk management, regulation of pay, and enhanced market discipline. Another lens is to consider the effectiveness of the board and in particular its independence. However, several papers (e.g. Erkens et al. 2012 and Adams 2012) have found that this is negatively related to outcomes in the Crisis.

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Topics:  Financial markets Global crisis

Tags:  global crisis, banking, capital requirements, liquidity requirements, risk management, corporate governance, Culture

Regulating the global insurance industry: Motivations and challenges

Christian Thimann 10 October 2014

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The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has completed its framework for the regulation of systemically important banks (FSB 2013a), and is now turning to the insurance industry. Its approach is inspired by the banking framework, under which 29 banking groups have been classified as systemically important. These banks are subject to a three-pronged framework consisting of enhanced supervision, the preparation of risk- and crisis-management plans, and the application of capital surcharges.

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Topics:  Financial markets Global crisis

Tags:  systemic risk, insurance, global crisis, AIG, regulation, capital requirements, Bailouts, bail-in, financial intermediation, accounting standards, mark-to-market, risk management

Trying to glimpse the ‘grey economy’

Charles A.E. Goodhart, Jonathan Ashworth 08 October 2014

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It is a remarkable fact that the ratio of currency to GDP in the UK has been rising, despite the greater use of card and online payments (see Figure 1). The currency-to-GDP ratio now stands at 16.1%, compared to 13.3% in Q4 2007. Currency in circulation per adult person is now equal to around £1,300 in the UK. In some other equivalent cases – e.g. holdings of US dollars, euros, and Swiss francs – this might be because more currency is being hoarded abroad, but this is not likely to be the case for the UK. So what is fuelling this rise in currency usage, if not the grey economy?

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Frontiers of economic research Global crisis

Tags:  global crisis, underground economy, shadow economy, hidden economy, grey economy, black economy, measurement, Currency, UK, tax evasion, GDP, GDP measurement, national accounts

Where danger lurks

Olivier Blanchard 03 October 2014

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Until the 2008 global financial crisis, mainstream US macroeconomics had taken an increasingly benign view of economic fluctuations in output and employment. The crisis has made it clear that this view was wrong and that there is a need for a deep reassessment.

The benign view reflected both factors internal to economics and an external economic environment that for years seemed indeed increasingly benign.

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Topics:  Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  macroeconomics, global crisis, great moderation, rational expectations, nonlinearities, fluctuations, business cycle, monetary policy, inflation, bank runs, deposit insurance, sudden stops, capital flows, liquidity, maturity mismatch, zero lower bound, liquidity trap, capital requirements, credit constraints, precautionary savings, housing boom, Credit crunch, unconventional monetary policy, fiscal policy, sovereign default, diabolical loop, deflation, debt deflation, financial regulation, regulatory arbitrage, DSGE models

Shadow banking and the economy

Alan Moreira, Alexi Savov 16 September 2014

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Shadow banking, what is it good for? At the epicentre of the global financial crisis, shadow banking has become the focus of intense regulatory scrutiny. All reform proposals implicitly take a stance on its economic value.

According to the prevailing regulatory arbitrage and neglected risks views, it doesn’t have any – shadow banking is about evading capital requirements, exploiting ‘too big to fail’, and marketing risky securities as safe to unwitting investors. The right response is to bring shadow banking into the regulatory and supervisory regime that covers insured banks.

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Topics:  Financial markets Global crisis Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  shadow banking, banking, financial crisis, global crisis, regulatory arbitrage, liquidity transformation, financial stability, externalities, collateral, business cycle, financial regulation, financial fragility, liquidity, liquidity crunch

Quantifying the macroeconomic effects of large-scale asset purchases

Karl Walentin 11 September 2014

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Central banks have used various unconventional monetary policy tools since the onset of the financial crisis yet the debate continues regarding their efficiency. This column attempts to shed light on the ‘bang for the buck’, or the macroeconomic effects, of one such unconventional monetary policy – the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchases of mortgage-backed securities employed during the Fed’s QE1 and QE3 programs.

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Topics:  Global crisis Monetary policy

Tags:  monetary policy, unconventional monetary policy, large-scale asset purchases, central banking, financial crisis, Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, mortgage-backed securities, term premia, zero lower bound, interest rates, US, UK, Sweden, mortgages, global crisis

To exit the Great Recession, central banks must adapt their policies and models

Marcus Miller, Lei Zhang 10 September 2014

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“Practical men…are usually the slaves…[of] some academic scribbler of a few years back” – John Maynard Keynes.

For monetary policy to be most effective, Michael Woodford emphasised the crucial importance of managing expectations. For this purpose, he advocated that central banks adopt explicit rules for setting interest rates to check inflation and recession, and went on to note that:

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Topics:  Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  Taylor rule, forward guidance, great moderation, global crisis, Great Recession, quantitative easing, DSGE models, expectations, tapering, US, UK, Europe, eurozone, ECB, Bank of England, central banking, IMF, unconventional monetary policy

What were they thinking? The Federal Reserve in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis

Stephen Golub, Ayse Kaya, Michael Reay 08 September 2014

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Financial crises are caused by imprudent borrowing and lending, but as former Federal Reserve chairman William McChesney Martin noted, it is ultimately up to regulators to ‘take away the punch bowl’ when the larger economy is at risk. Indeed, many have criticised regulators for failing to anticipate and prevent the 2008 crash (Buiter 2012, Gorton 2012, Johnson and Kwak 2010, Roubini and Mihm 2010). Little work has been done, however, on why regulatory agencies failed to act despite warnings from prominent commentators (Borio and White 2004, Buffett 2003, Rajan 2005).

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Topics:  Financial markets Global crisis Monetary policy

Tags:  financial crisis, Federal Reserve, FOMC, global crisis, collateralised debt obligations, Credit Default Swaps, LTCM, CDOs, CDSs, central banking

The role of corporate saving in global rebalancing

Philippe Bacchetta, Kenza Benhima 24 August 2014

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The increase in global imbalances in the last decade posed a theoretical challenge for international macroeconomics. Why did some less-developed countries with a higher need for capital, like China, lend to richer countries? The inconsistency of standard open-economy dynamic models with actual global capital flows had already been stressed before (e.g. by Lucas 1990), but the sensitivity to this issue became more acute with increasing global imbalances. This stimulated the development of several alternative theoretical frameworks.

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Topics:  International finance International trade

Tags:  interest rates, global imbalances, capital flows, saving, global crisis, credit constraints, savings glut, zero lower bound, corporate saving, global rebalancing

Ballooning finance

Bruno Biais, Jean-Charles Rochet, Paul Woolley 21 August 2014

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One of the curiosities of the modern economy is why the finance sector is so large. Economists have only recently sought to document and ponder this phenomenon. Empirically, Greenwood and Scharfstein (2013) find that, in the US, financial services, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP in 1950, made up 8.3% of GDP in 2006.

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Topics:  Financial markets

Tags:  securitisation, financial crises, moral hazard, asymmetric information, financial innovation, global crisis, bubbles, monitoring, shirking, junk bonds, CDOs, CDSs, ETFs

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