Daily Archives: May 12, 2010

Simone Baribeau

The Chicago Fed today put out a rather unusual paper discussing the art and science of risk management. It concludes that too much focus was put on the science of risk management, rather than the art.

More and more, the ‘art’ of using informed intuition to navigate complicated risk landscapes was giving way to the ‘science’ of statistical models. 

Simone Baribeau

The White House is highlighting common problems of military families to push for more comprehensive financial reform.

Barack Obama today argued against an amendment which would exclude auto dealer lenders from increased consumer protections (that will be overseen by the Fed).

This amendment guts provisions that empower consumers with clear information that allows them to make the financial decisions that work best for them and simply encourages misleading sales tactics that hurt American consumers. Unfortunately, countless families – particularly military families – have been the target of these deceptive practices.

Last month, the White House blog included a post on military families being the potential victims of the proposed auto lending carve out, which said that, in the past six months, 72 per cent of military financial counselors had spoken with soldiers on abusive auto lending practices.

Dealers that target military families have an incentive to 

City analysts will be relieved by the UK government’s reprieve for the FSA, the UK’s financial services regulator. “There will be cheers in the City if, as now seems likely, the FSA remains the single regulator for banks and insurers,” Paul Edmondson, a London-based regulatory lawyer, told Bloomberg.

The Conservative Party had pledged to scrap the body, shifting its responsibilities to the Bank of England. This now looks unlikely but FSA responsibilities will still change. According to Bloomberg, the FSA will “undertake day-to-day supervision of individual lenders, and report directly to the central bank”. 

The Spanish pledge to extra fiscal austerity —apparently following a call from President Obama— has calmed markets. Measures include:

For comparison, this is a breakdown of the Greek proposal:

Eurozone crisis

Other news

The European Commission has given the green light to Estonia’s euro accession on January , 2011. Final approval is required from EU finance ministers. The timing is ironic given the current eurozone crisis—apparently not one eurozone member would currently meet the strict conditions for entry to the single currency.

From Reuters: 

Chris Giles

Sitting in the Inflation Report press conference, it is clear Mervyn King has been liberated to talk about fiscal deficits.

He is delighted the new government will cut spending quickly. 

George Osborne, the new Tory chancellor, has been forced to water down plans to hand over banking supervision to the Bank of England under a five-year coalition deal struck with the Liberal Democrats.

Tory officials admitted that the Financial Services Authority could survive the planned shake-up of banking regulation, a move that will delight many in the City who feared that Mr Osborne’s original plan would lead to serious upheaval. 

The US Senate on Tuesday unanimously backed a full-scale audit of the Federal Reserve’s actions during the financial crisis but rejected a proposal for continuing sweeping probes, which the central bank said would compromise its independence.

An amendment from Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, requiring a “one-time audit of all loans and other financial assistance” provided by the Fed during the crisis gained bipartisan support from all members. 

James Politi

A senior Federal Reserve official on Tuesday warned that the European debt crisis posed the biggest threat to the US economy, even as he offered a relatively upbeat assessment of the recovery.

“Potential scenarios in Europe could affect US growth … That is probably the most likely downside risk,” said Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, following a speech in Greensboro, North Carolina. “It’s not clear it is going to have any effect at all so far but it has the potential to.”