Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Fed Paper Seeks Optimal Capital Ratio for U.S. Banks

Empirical cost-benefit analysis yields a range of ratios

A working paper published on April 3, 2017 by the US Federal Reserve attempts to quantify the costs and benefits of bank capital to arrive at an estimate of the optimal capital ratio for U.S. banks. In their paper,[1] authors Simon Firestone, Amy Lorenc, and Ben Ranish begin their analysis by estimating to what extent the probability of financial crises falls as bank capital rises and calculate the output costs of a financial crisis. Against this cost, the authors then balance the cost of equity, a more expensive source of funding for banks than debt.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Lack of Haircut Data Hampers E.U. SFT Risk Assessment

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)’s report on Trends, Risks, and Vulnerabilities No. 1, 2017 (TRV) is the body’s latest effort to highlight areas of risk facing European financial markets. Noting that financial markets remained relatively calm since its last quarterly assessment, ESMA said that risks in the markets "remained at high levels, reflecting very high risk in securities markets, and elevated risk for investors, infrastructures, and services.” ESMA’s overall risk assessment remained unchanged with market and credit risks remaining at "the highest level,” while liquidity and contagion risk remained merely “high." The report also identified political and policy uncertainties following Brexit and the U.S. elections as well as potential repercussions from the upcoming elections in some E.U. member states as the main risk drivers for 2017. ESMA also expressed concerns about haircut levels in securities financing transaction (SFT) markets but said that lack of haircut data was a significant impediment to assessing risks in SFT markets.  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

OFR Launches Initiative to Reduce Regulatory Reporting Burden

In a March 16, 2017 address before the Financial Data Summit in Washington, DC, Richard Berner, Director of the Office of Financial Research (OFR), announced an initiative to identify areas of “duplication, overlap, and inefficiency in regulatory reporting.” The initiative is being undertaken in partnership with with the Financial Stability Oversight Council (and its member agencies). The goal of the project is to “improve data quality and reduce the reporting burden” faced by regulated financial firms. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

House Committee Hearing Examines SIFI Designation Process

Hears Testimony on FSOC's "Inconsistent and Arbitrary" SIFI Designation Process

The House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on Tuesday, March 28, 2017  to examine the process used by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to designate systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs). The subcommittee heard testimony from a panel of witnesses about the designation process and about the House Financial Services Committee’s February 28, 2017 report criticizing the FSOC and what it termed its “inconsistent and arbitrary” SIFI designation process. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SIFMA Asks G-20 for More Regulatory Balance

Global policymakers should strike the right balance between growth and stability

In a March 15, 2017 letter, SIFMA urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to take a leading role in the G-20 to reassess existing regulatory reforms and strike the appropriate balance between growth and stability. While acknowledging that regulatory reforms since the financial crisis have made markets more stable, SIFMA believes that too much emphasis on stability may be unnecessarily impeding growth. The letter asks the Treasury Secretary to engage the G-20 members to reexamine existing regulations and create an improved cross-border financial regulatory consultative process.  SIFMA believes that such an effort would “foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets...(and) make regulation efficient, effective and appropriately tailored.”  SIFMA said that the U.S. is in a position to lead the G20 in an endeavor like the E.U.’s 2015 “Call for Evidence”[1] and encouraged Secretary Mnuchin to do so.   

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