Friday, September 13, 2013

More Wisdom from Tett

Gillian Tett has written yet another great column for the Financial Times, summarizing what should have changed, but has not, since the darkest days of the 2008 crisis. Her main points are:

1. The big banks got bigger
2. Shadow banking grew
3. Investors believe in central banks more, not less
4. The rich got richer
5. There have been few relevant criminal convictions
6. Fannie and Freddie Mac are still in business

I recommend the whole thing (registration may be required).

Tett's depth and prescience are a marvel. In January of 2007, too, she wrote a great piece (registration, again). She compared the financial system at that time to "candy floss":
...what worries some policy-makers is that structured finance is often so opaque that dangerous concentrations of credit risk could develop in the system - unseen until a shock. Banks, for example, now seem to be buying each others' securitised bonds through their investment arms, which could mean they are acquiring risk through the back door even as they appear to be shedding it in their published accounts. 
That makes it harder to assess overall leverage in the economy. But it could also make it difficult for central banks to control credit conditions with old-fashioned monetary tools.
 I am a huge fan of hers.