The Great Debate UK
- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -
There is so much talk of a new regulatory framework for the financial sector, anyone would think it was an important issue.
Unfortunately, it is almost irrelevant, for the simple reason that, however sophisticated the new regime, experience shows it will be bypassed and/or captured by banks of one kind or another, possibly by novel types of institution invented specially for the purpose.
This is true even in the unlikely event that the whole world – with the possible exception of North Korea – embraces the new regulations and enforces them with vigour.
The strongest U.S. banks have already shrugged off the TARP, with its tiresome restrictions on executive pay. In Britain, Lloyds Banking Group has toyed with a jumbo capital raising as a way off the hook of the British government's fiendishly complex asset protection scheme.
Britain's asset protection scheme, invented to protect the banking system, is morphing into a bureaucratic monster. It's time to kill it off. Though state support is still needed, there are simpler ways for the government to prop up its ailing lenders.
More than seven months after it was conceived, and five months after Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group signed up to use it, details of the APS have still not been agreed. The sheer task of sifting through 585 billion pounds worth of loans to be insured by the government means any final agreement is months away.
from The Great Debate:
PARIS, April 20 (Reuters) - The European Union's antitrust czar is struggling to stop governments bending EU rules on state aid to business when they rescue banks with taxpayers' money.
But Neelie Kroes' threat to force some banks to the wall unless they offer viable restructuring plans within six months of receiving state cash was economically unwise and politically inept. It could fuel political pressure to suspend the rules and weaken the European Commission's crucial watchdog powers.