G20 Opts To Pursue Tougher Capital Standards

The statement from the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in London would appear to constitute a win for Tim Geithner and Alistair Darling. I use the word appears because it is always wise not to take these sorts of pronouncements at anything more than face value.

At any rate, the statement seems to indicate that the consensus was significant tightening of bank capital standards would be the thrust of future efforts. Treasury Secretary Geithner had pushed for this approach several days ago when he issued his guidelines for reform (link here) and he appears to have carried the day.

The French and Germans had come to the meeting with curbing bank pay and bonuses as uppermost in their minds. Recall that the French had already come down hard on their own banks and the Germans seemed inclined to follow their lead. The British were loath to jump on that bandwagon as they are desperate to save as much of the City’s financial industry as possible and viewed onerous compensation regulations as probably the last nail in the coffin.

Bonuses didn’t cause this crisis, they just made it seem all the more unseemly. By attacking overly lax capital standards, the finance ministers are on the right track. The key question is can they carry through and truly impose meaningful standards that can’t be gamed or will they cave to the power and pressure of the finance industry. It’s not an easy task.

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About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

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