The Phaserl


Governor Jeremy C. Stein At the “Rethinking Macro Policy II,” a conference sponsored by the International Monetary Fund

[Ed. note: And now a word from the belly-of-the-beast. OFFICIAL FED DOCUMENT SAYING WE WILL BE CYPRUSED/DC]

from Federal Reserve:

Regulating Large Financial Institutions

Thank you. I’m delighted to be here, and want to thank the International Monetary Fund and the organizers of the conference for including me in a discussion of these important topics. I will focus my remarks today on the ongoing regulatory challenges associated with large, systemically important financial institutions, or SIFIs.1  In part, this focus amounts to asking a question that seems to be on everyone’s mind these days: Where do we stand with respect to fixing the problem of “too big to fail” (TBTF)? Are we making satisfactory progress, or it is time to think about further measures?

I should note at the outset that solving the TBTF problem has two distinct aspects. First, and most obviously, one goal is to get to the point where all market participants understand with certainty that if a large SIFI were to fail, the losses would fall on its shareholders and creditors, and taxpayers would have no exposure. However, this is only a necessary condition for success, but not a sufficient one. A second aim is that the failure of a SIFI must not impose significant spillovers on the rest of the financial system, in the form of contagion effects, fire sales, widespread credit crunches, and the like. Clearly, these two goals are closely related. If policy does a better job of mitigating spillovers, it becomes more credible to claim that a SIFI will be allowed to fail without government bailout.

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