Year of publication
- 2010 (2) (remove)
- Criteria for a workable approach towards bank levies and bank restructuring : memo for the june 2010 meeting of the G-20 in Toronto (2010)
- SUMMARY RECOMMENDATIONS 1. One of the major lessons from the current financial crisis refers to the systemic dimension of financial risk which had been almost completely neglected by bankers and supervisors in the pre-2007 years. 2. Accordingly, the most needed change in financial regulation, in order to avoid a repetition of such a crisis in the future, consists of influencing individual bank behaviour such that systemic risk is decreased. This objective is new and distinct from what Basle II was intended to achieve. 3. It is important, therefore, to evaluate proposed new regulatory instruments on the ground of whether or not they contribute to a reduction, or containment of systemic risk. We see two new regulatory measures of paramount importance: the introduction of a Systemic Risk Charge (SRC), and the implementation of a transparent bank resolution regime. Both measures complement each other, thus both have to be realized to be effective. 4. We propose a Systemic Risk Charge (SRC), a levy capturing the contribution of any individual bank to the overall systemic risk which is distinct from the institution’s own default risk. The SRC is set up such that the more systemic risk a bank contributes, the higher is the cost it has to bear. Therefore, the SRC serves to internalize the cost of systemic risk which, up to now, was borne by the taxpayer. 5. Major details of our SRC refer to the use of debt that may be converted into equity when systemic risk threatens the stability of the banking system. Also, the SRC raises some revenues for government. 6. The SRC has to be compared to several bank levies currently debated. The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) does not directly address systemic risk and is therefore inferior to a SRC. Nevertheless, a FTT may offer the opportunity to subsidize on-exchange trading at the expense of off-exchange (over-the-counter, OTC) transactions, thereby enhancing financial market stability. The Financial Activity Tax (FAT) is similar to a VAT on financial services. It is the least adequate instrument among all instruments discussed above to limit systemic risk. 7. Bank resolution regime: No instrument to contain systemic risk can be effective unless the restructuring of bank debt, and the ensuing loss given default to creditors, is a real possibility. As the crisis has taught, bank restructuring is very difficult in light of contagion risk between major banks. We therefore need a regulatory procedure that allows winding down banks, even large banks, on short notice. Among other things, the procedure will require to distinguish systemically relevant exposures from those that are irrelevant. Only the former will be saved with government money, and it will then be the task of the supervisor to ensure a sufficient amount of nonsystemically relevant debt on the balance sheet of all banks. 8. Further issues discussed in this policy paper and its appendices refer to the necessity of a global level playing field, or the lack thereof, for these new regulatory measures; the convergence of our SRC proposal with what is expected to be long-term outcome of Basle III discussions; as well as the role of global imbalances.