Thursday, June 10, 2010

An idea whose time has come

Finally, someone with (at least a bit of) power has spoken out with a logical proposal to make irresponsible greed in the finance world more difficult.

The EU internal market commissioner [and politician] Michel Barnier stated recently that to prevent future financial crises, there should be a network of national funds should be introduced so the cost of bank failures are not met by the taxpayer.

But as one commentator argues, the big problem with this (and similar) proposals is that it fails to tackle the problem of 'moral hazard', whereby banks take excessive risks, knowing that they have the protection of a safety-net. Indeed, by reducing the consequences of excessive risk-taking, these bail-out funds could have the opposite effect to that intended.

I believe there must first be a way to ensure that any new levies are not simply passed on to consumers in the form of higher fees or in-built secretive charges.

Similar measures have also been put forward to restrict European hedge funds and this is also a step in the right direction.

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