Jon Danielsson, Charles Goodhart, Robert Macrae, 10 March 2022

The Western countries have sanctioned Russia in a way not applied to any globally integrated major power in over a century, ever since 1914. This column argues that there are lessons to be learned from the 1914 systemic crisis and that high inflation and government debt will make it difficult to contain a crisis today if one emerges. 

Thorsten Beck, Stephen Cecchetti, Magdalena Grothe, Malcolm Kemp, Loriana Pelizzon, Antonio Sánchez Serrano, 19 January 2022

New technologies are changing how banks produce and provide financial services. These changes have implications for traditional banks, creating novel sources of systemic risk which could in turn pose regulatory and policy challenges. This column introduces a new report by the Advisory Scientific Committee of the European Systemic Risk Board that discusses the impact that digitalisation may have on the structure of the European banking system. Based on three scenarios for the future development of European banking, the authors derive an array of macroprudential policy recommendations.

Benny Hartwig, Christoph Meinerding, Yves S. Schüler, 19 January 2022

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, a consensus rapidly emerged that systemic risk – a central concept in financial stability – needed to be contained going forward. However, to this day experts cannot agree on how to measure systemic risk in the first place, with researchers having proposed a plethora of indicators. This column proposes an analytical approach designed to lend structure to this universe of indicators for measuring systemic risk.

Alejandro Van der Ghote, 15 December 2021

Short-term interest rates, particularly the natural rate, have been in steady decline in the euro area and the US. This column argues that in economies with low natural rates, such as the euro area today, macroprudential policy can have benefits for the effectiveness of conventional monetary policy, in addition to safeguarding financial stability. Notably, macroprudential policies that curb leverage of financial intermediaries during upturns can also help stimulate aggregate demand during downturns, by containing systemic risk in financial markets.

Maurizio Trapanese, 26 July 2021

The policy framework developed so far on non-bank financial intermediation has been based mainly on microprudential tools, looking at individual institutions and activities. This column argues that the effectiveness of these tools could be strengthened if they are accompanied by a comprehensive framework to control systemic risk. This framework could be built around determining the correct pricing of backstops, resolving the trade-off between systemic risk and intermediation costs, mitigating the risk of runs on money market funds, resolving the agency problems in some non-bank financial intermediation transactions, and enhancing the stress test tools. 

Rustam Jamilov, Hélène Rey, Ahmed Tahoun, 05 July 2021

Cyber risk poses serious threats for businesses around the world. This column develops a new text-based measure of cyber risk exposure by leveraging computational linguistics and quarterly earnings transcripts for 12,000+ firms from 85 countries over the past 20+ years. Cyber threats have tripled since 2013 and affected a lot more countries and industries. Cyber risks are priced into the stock market and are contagious. The authors conclude that cyber risk is a source of systemic risk for firms and markets.

Johannes Kasinger, Jan Pieter Krahnen, Steven Ongena, Loriana Pelizzon, Maik Schmeling, Mark Wahrenburg, 01 April 2021

Once moratoria and other Covid-19 support measures are unwound, European banks will likely be confronted by a wave of non-performing loans. This column provides empirical insights on the current levels of such loans in Europe and draws lessons from previous financial crises for their effective treatment. It highlights the importance of early and realistic assessment of loan losses to avoid adverse incentives for banks. Secondary loan markets would help in this process and further facilitate bank resolution as laid down in the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive, which should be upheld even in extreme scenarios.

Alex Edmans, 17 March 2021

It is often taken for granted that sustainability reduces a company’s cost of capital. This column argues that the relationship is significantly more complex and depends on a number of factors. It highlights an important distinction between the ‘cost of capital’ and ‘expected cash flow’ channels, which may lead to similar final outcomes but imply different underlying mechanisms. Additional factors, such as the level and nature of systemic risk, the amount of risk aversion, and the cyclical behaviour of public trust in business, are also crucial in determining whether sustainable companies enjoy a lower cost of capital. 

Thorsten Beck, Elena Carletti, Brunella Bruno, 17 March 2021

The combined effect of the measures implemented to maintain banks’ ability to provide funds during the Covid crisis was to create a virtuous circle between corporates, banks, and sovereigns, avoiding a funding crunch for either and keeping risk premiums at deflated levels. However, it also created the basis for possible increased systemic risk in the future. This column argues that the exit strategy from the various support measures must be carefully designed and coordinated, as well as communicated in a clear and timely manner.

Stefano Borgioli, Carl-Wolfram Horn, Urszula Kochanska, Philippe Molitor, Francesco Paolo Mongelli, Eva Mulder, Alessandro Zito, 03 December 2020

The COVID-19 shock is unprecedented in terms of the scale and speed of its effects. This column provides an overview of financial fragmentation in the euro area during the crisis through the lens of a novel high-frequency composite indicator. It reveals that after an initial sharp deterioration, euro area financial integration broadly recovered to pre-crisis levels by mid-September, thanks to unprecedented fiscal, monetary and prudential policy responses.

Claudia M. Buch, 25 September 2020

Structured policy evaluations are important for the accountability and transparency of policy responses to global crises. Such evaluations require good infrastructure, including access to data and information on policies. In 2017, the Financial Stability Board began a comprehensive evaluation of post-crisis financial-sector reforms. This column draws on this evaluation to examine the state of the global banking system at the onset of COVID-19 crisis and highlights important lessons to be learned from the policy response to the Global Crisis.  

Thorsten Beck, Deyan Radev, Isabel Schnabel, 12 May 2020

Bank resolution regimes designed to deal with idiosyncratic bank distress have been widely established or upgraded over the last decade. This column shows however, that more comprehensive resolution regimes may increase systemic risk in response to a system-wide shock. Hence, bank resolution regimes may benefit from a macroprudential design, including a strictly defined financial stability exemption for bail-in rules during periods of systemic distress.

Jon Danielsson, Robert Macrae, Dimitri Vayanos, Jean-Pierre Zigrand, 26 March 2020

Many comparisons have been made between the coronavirus crisis and the global systemic crisis in 2008. This column argues that seen through the lens of exogenous and endogenous risk, these two crises are quite different. Coronavirus is unlikely to cause a global systemic crisis, and the policy response should be different.

Jon Danielsson, Robert Macrae, Andreas Uthemann, 06 March 2020

Artificial intelligence, such as the Bank of England Bot, is set to take over an increasing number of central bank functions. This column argues that the increased use of AI in central banking will bring significant cost and efficiency benefits, but also raise important concerns that are so far unresolved.

Sanjiv Das, Kris Mitchener, Angela Vossmeyer, 11 March 2019

The Global Crisis brought attention to how connections among financial institutions may make systems more prone to crises. Turning to a major financial crisis from the past, this column uses data from the Great Depression to study risk in the commercial banking network leading up to the crisis and how the network structure influenced the outcomes. It demonstrates that when the distribution of risk is more concentrated at the top of the system, as it was in 1929, fragility and the propensity for risk to spread increases.

Denefa Bostandzic, Felix Irresberger, Ragnar Juelsrud, Gregor Weiss, 15 January 2018

Since the financial crisis, curbing systemic risk has become a key objective for policymakers around the world. This column sheds light on how successful capital requirements are in terms of reducing systemic risk, in the context of the European banking sector. Results show that an increase in capital requirements in Europe lead to heightened measures of systemic risk, in opposition to the goals of the exercise. This does not imply, however, that capital requirements are welfare decreasing.

Meghana Ayyagari, Thorsten Beck, Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, 11 December 2018

Macroprudential tools have been implemented widely following the Global Crisis. Using data from 900,000 firms in 49 countries, this column finds that such policies are associated with lower credit growth during the period 2003-2011. The effects are especially significant for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and young firms that are more financially constrained and bank dependent. The results imply a trade-off between financial stability and inclusion.

Alex Brazier, 26 October 2018

Thanks to transformative post-crisis reforms, the financial system is safer and simpler than it was a decade ago. But the structure of the system continues to evolve, partly in reaction to those reforms. Economies are now more reliant on market-based finance. This column argues that to deliver the macroprudential objective of a system that is able to serve households and businesses in bad times as well as good, policymakers must run stress simulations on systemic markets as well as systemic banks, and take pre-emptive corrective action where necessary.

Ester Faia, Sébastien Laffitte, Gianmarco Ottaviano, 20 September 2018

There is a general consensus that lax monetary policy and banking globalisation were two critical factors behind the Global Crisis. This column explores how banks’ decisions to enter foreign markets impacted their individual and systemic risk. Results from a sample of European banks suggest that banks’ foreign expansions decreased risk from both an individual and systemic viewpoint. The findings cast doubt on the idea that banking globalisation was one of the culprits behind the crisis.

Andrew Ellul, Chotibhak Jotikasthira, Anastasia Kartasheva, Christian Lundblad, Wolf Wagner, 05 June 2018

Systemic risk analyses have largely focused on the linkages among financial institutions’ funding arrangements, but there are increasing connections between insurers and the rest of the financial system. This column explores how systemic risk can originate from insurers’ business models. In the event of negative asset shocks, insurers’ collective allocation to illiquid bonds leads to an amplification of system-wide fire sales. These dynamics can plausibly erase up to 20-70% of insurers’ aggregate equity capital.

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