Monday, January 28, 2008
Credibility Vacuum with Regulators
--Ben Bernanke's Fed has never had as much authority as Alan Greenspan's. It has seemed panicked by the markets. Meanwhile, Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, has seen his initiatives run into a swamp. For example, his "super-SIV" plan for helping banks unload their subprime exposures came to naught. --Across the Atlantic Ocean, things are no better. The credibility of British authorities has been damaged by their incapacity to resolve the Northern Rock fiasco rapidly. The European Central Bank had seemed above reproach, but the SocGen fraud has undermined the euro-zone authorities, too. Either the Banque de France didn't tell the ECB promptly or the ECB didn't tell the Fed. If they couldn't communicate effectively this time, what is the guarantee that they will or can do better next time? --The fact that it took five days for information about the fraud to pass from France to the Federal Reserve has exposed the lack of effective communication among global financial authorities.