John Kay sur l’aléa moral

John Kay, dit dans The war on moral hazards begins at home:

The purpose of structural reform is to allow financial institutions to fail without imposing large costs on taxpayers, retail customers and the global economy. The moral hazard problem is more subtle than sometimes suggested. Banks do not think: “We can afford to take big risks because the government will help if things go wrong.” The downside of failure for senior executives and boards is large even if it is not as large as it should be.

But senior executives and boards can reasonably think: “We can afford to run large counterparty exposures because the government will help if things go wrong.” Experience has shown that they will generally be right to think that. The transfer of wholesale market counterparty risk from the market to the taxpayer is the central issue. It distorts competition, allows excessive risk-taking and imposes wholly unacceptable burdens on the public. The most powerful mechanism for controlling risk-taking is prudential supervision, not by regulators, but by the market itself.

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