Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Volcker to Bankers: "Wake up, gentlemen"

by Calculated Risk on 12/09/2009 12:40:00 PM

“Has there been one financial leader to say this is really excessive? Wake up, gentlemen. Your response, I can only say, has been inadequate.”
Paul Volcker, former Fed Chairman, Dec 8, 2009
From The Times: ‘Wake up, gentlemen’, world’s top bankers warned by former Fed chairman Volcker
“I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth — one shred of evidence,” said Mr Volcker ... He said that financial services in the United States had increased its share of value added from 2 per cent to 6.5 per cent, but he asked: “Is that a reflection of your financial innovation, or just a reflection of what you’re paid?”
And from the Telegraph: Ex-Fed chief Paul Volcker's 'telling' words on derivatives industry
"You can innovate as much as you like, but do it within a structure that doesn't put the whole economy at risk."
...
Mr Volcker argued that banks did have a vital role to play as holders of deposits and providers of credit. This importance meant it was correct that they should be "regulated on one side and protected on the other". He said riskier financial activities should be limited to hedge funds to whom society could say: "If you fail, fail. I'm not going to help you. Your stock is gone, creditors are at risk, but no one else is affected."