Financial Regulation

Op-Ed

A Risky 'Systemic' Watchdog

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

Sebastian Mallaby writes that the Frank proposal for a new "systemic risk regulator" is dubious. The sad truth is that crowded trades are near-impossible for the government to identify.

See more in Financial Regulation; United States

Op-Ed

Testing Time for a Young Administration

Author: Roger M. Kubarych
Nikkei

In this Nikkei op-ed, Roger Kubarych analyzes the early challenges facing the Obama administration with regards to the economic crisis. He writes that the ugly stock market response to the Geithner plan will make it all the harder to recapitalize the U.S. financial system without taxpayers footing the bill.

See more in Financial Crises; Financial Regulation; United States

Op-Ed

Demons on Wall Street

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

One year ago, with spectacular timing, a Wall Streeter named Richard Bookstaber published a book on financial engineering. He called it "A Demon of Our Own Design," and his argument was that a new breed of "quants" had created a system too complex to be manageable. In this Washington Post op-ed, Sebastian Mallaby agrees with Dr. Bookstaber that—in the wake of Bear Stearns—modern financial engineering has become harder to defend.

See more in United States; Corporate Governance; Financial Regulation

Other Report

Prime Brokers and Derivatives Dealers

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

Runs by prime-brokerage clients and derivatives counterparties were a central cause of the global financial crisis. These runs precipitated the failures of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers by substantially reducing the broker's liquidity. This Working Paper, the ninth in the Squam Lake series distributed by the Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, argues for higher regulatory liquidity requirements for dealer banks that use assets of clients and counterparties as a source of liquidity.

See more in Financial Crises; Financial Regulation; United States

Other Report

Credit Default Swaps, Clearinghouses, and Exchanges

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

Credit default swaps (CDS) are contracts that provide protection against the risk of default by borrowers. The failure of one important participant in the CDS market can destabilize the financial system by inflicting significant losses on many trading partners simultaneously. A clearinghouse could in theory reduce counterparty risk by standing between the buyer and seller of protection, insulating the counterparties’ exposure to each other’s default. This Working Paper, the fifth in the Squam Lake Working Group series distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, analyzes the market for credit default swaps and makes specific recommendations about appropriate roles for clearinghouses and about how they should be organized.

See more in United States; Financial Markets; Financial Regulation

Other Report

A Systemic Regulator for Financial Markets

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

Financial regulations in almost all countries are designed to ensure the soundness of individual institutions, principally commercial banks, against the risk of loss on their assets. This focus on individual firms ignores critical interactions between institutions and can also cause regulators to overlook important changes in the overall financial system. The solution: One regulatory organization in each country should be responsible for overseeing the health and stability of the overall financial system. This Working Paper, the fourth in the Squam Lake Working Group series distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, argues that the central bank should be charged with this important new responsibility.

See more in Financial Regulation; Financial Markets; Global

Other Report

Reforming Capital Requirements for Financial Institutions

Author: Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Regulation

This Working Paper, the second in a series from the Squam Lake Working Group distributed by the Center for Geoeconomic Studies, argues that regulators consider systemic effects when setting bank capital requirements. Everything else the same, capital requirements should be proportionately higher for larger banks, banks that hold more illiquid assets, and banks that finance more of their operations with short-term debt. But capital requirements are not free. When designing capital requirements that address systemic concerns, regulators must weigh the costs such requirements impose on banks during good times against the benefit of having more capital in the financial system when a crisis strikes.

See more in Global; Financial Markets; Financial Regulation

Podcast
Renewing America

Renewing America

Will the Volcker Rule Work?

As federal regulators flesh out financial reform specifics, questions remain about how the Volcker Rule--aimed at preventing banks from taking overly risky bets--will work, and whether it will make the financial system safer.

See more in United States; Financial Regulation