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商业 - 金融

新一轮金融危机潜在导火索不完全名单

Stephen Gandel 2013年05月02日

到底哪些因素可能会触发新一轮的金融危机?美国监管机构最近列出了一份清单,利率,借贷,闪电崩盘,中国经济放缓等等因素都赫然在列。但这份清单最触目惊心的地方在于——它的长度。

    欧洲、日本和中国的经济放缓或衰退风险也在美国金融稳定监管委员会的列表中,虽然美国监管部门对此几乎做不了什么。Libor等借贷利率可能不够准确,也在列表之中。造成利率操纵的原因可能多少让人们对银行和经济有些过度担心。但这里我们担心的是银行业。Libor被操纵的事实似乎是华尔街公开的秘密,因此很难说有哪家银行中招了。

    列表中的其他事情,比如洗钱,似乎都是坏事,但不是会真正导致一家大银行倒闭的事情,除非出现大规模欺诈。但大规模欺诈并没有出现在列表中。

    列出这样一个可能导致金融危机的风险因素名单最大的问题在于我们必定会出错。导致金融危机的因素是我们没有看到的黑天鹅。虽然美国金融稳定监管委员会没有详细说明哪里可能出错,他们花了很多时间说为什么不会。或许,我们最好能跳上时光机,回到2007年初(金融危机前),让监管部门给出一份可能导致银行业崩溃的风险因素列表。我估计这份列表可能根本不值一提。

    上周,美国参议员谢罗德•布朗和戴维•维特发起了一项议案,要求显著增加银行业手头用于覆盖投资损失和不良贷款的资金。目前,这个比率是9%。两位参议员希望能增加到比如15%。我不能说我非常赞成这一议案。有些成本增加可能并不是出于本意,目前在这方面似乎没有上限。(为什么不弄成200%?那样就真的安全了。)

    上述两位参议员以及支持这个议案的人们出发点是好的。我们不知道风险会来自哪里。唯一的答案是持有比我们认为必要的水平更高的资本金。不过,列表还是反映了监管部门以及银行对当前行业状况的总体看法。提高银行业安全性的第一步是承认,它是一项不可能完成的任务。(财富中文网)

    The risk of slowdowns or recession in Europe, Japan, and China are on the FSOC's list as well, even though there is little U.S. regulators can do about that. The fact that Libor and other lending rates may be inaccurate is also on the list. The reason being that manipulation may make people more-or-less worried about the banks and the economy than they should be. But what we are worried about here is banks. The fact that Libor was being manipulated seems to be one of Wall Street's worst-kept secrets, so is any banks were tricked by it.

    Other things that show up on the list like money laundering seem like bad things, but not really things that would cause a major bank to fail, unless there was a massive fraud. Widespread fraud, however, is not on the list.

    But the biggest problem with listing the things that will result in our financial doom is that inevitably we get it wrong. The things that result in our financial doom are the ones we didn't see coming -- black swans. And while the FSOC does detail what could go wrong, they spend much of their time saying why it won't. Perhaps the best thing we could do is hop a time machine back to early 2007 (the pre-financial-crisis era) and ask regulators to produce a list of things that could cause the banking sector to blow up. My guess is the list would be just as dismissive.

    This week Sherrod Brown and David Vitter proposed a bill that significantly ups the amount of money banks have to have on hand to cover bad bets and soured loans. Currently, we are at 9%. The senators would like more like 15%. I can't say I am a huge fan of this. There are unintended costs, and there seems to be no limit to the thinking. (Why not make it 200%? That's really safe.)

    The senators' point and ones who support the measure is a good one. We don't know where the risks are going to come from. The only answer is holding more capital than we think necessary. Lists, however, give the impression that regulators and banks know what's out there. The first step in making our banking sector safer is acknowledging that this is impossible.

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