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jerryking : stress-tests   7

Why further financial crises are inevitable
March 19, 2019 | Financial Times | Martin Wolf.

We learnt this month that the US Fed had decided not to raise the countercyclical capital buffer required of banks above its current level of zero, even though the US economy is at a cyclical peak. It also removed “qualitative” grades from its stress tests for American banks, though not for foreign ones. Finally, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, led by Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury secretary, removed the last insurer from its list of “too big to fail” institutions.

These decisions may not endanger the stability of the financial system. But they show that financial regulation is procyclical: it is loosened when it should be tightened and tightened when it should be loosened. We do, in fact, learn from history — and then we forget.....Regulation of banks has tightened since the financial crises of 2007-12. Capital and liquidity requirements are stricter, the “stress test” regime is quite demanding, and efforts have been made to end “too big to fail” by developing the idea of orderly “resolution” of large and complex financial institutions.....Yet complacency is unjustified. Banks remain highly leveraged institutions.....history demonstrates the procyclicality of regulation. Again and again, regulation is relaxed during a boom: indeed, the deregulation often fuels that boom. Then, when the damage has been done and disillusionment sets in, it is tightened again........We can see four reasons why this tends to happen: economic, ideological, political and merely human.

* Economic
Over time the financial system evolves. There is a tendency for risk to migrate out of the best regulated parts of the system to less well regulated parts. Even if regulators have the power and will to keep up, the financial innovation that so often accompanies this makes it hard to do so. The global financial system is complex and adaptable. It is also run by highly motivated people. It is hard for regulators to catch up with the evolution of what we now call “shadow banking”.

* Ideological
the tendency to view this complex system through a simplistic lens. The more powerful the ideology of free markets, the more the authority and power of regulators will tend to erode. Naturally, public confidence in this ideology tends to be strong in booms and weak in busts.

* Political

the financial system controls vast resources and can exert huge influence. In the 2018 US electoral cycle, finance, insurance and real estate (three intertwined sectors) were the largest contributors, covering one-seventh of the total cost. This is a superb example of Mancur Olson’s Logic of Collective Action: concentrated interests override the general one. This is much less true in times of crisis, when the public is enraged and wants to punish bankers. But it is true, again, in normal times.

Borderline or even blatant corruption also emerges: politicians may even demand a share in the wealth created in booms. Since politicians ultimately control regulators, the consequences for the latter, even if they are honest and diligent, are evident.

A significant aspect of the politics is closely linked to regulatory arbitrage: international competition. One jurisdiction tries to attract financial business via “light-touch” regulation; others then follow. This is frequently because their own financiers and financial centres complain bitterly. It is hard to resist the argument that foreigners are cheating.

* Human
There is a human tendency to dismiss long-ago events as irrelevant, to believe This Time is Different and ignore what is not under one’s nose. Much of this can be summarised as “disaster myopia”. The public gives irresponsible policymakers the benefit of the doubt and enjoys the boom. Over time, regulation degrades, as the forces against it strengthen and those in its favour corrode.

The cumulative effect of these efforts is quite clear: regulations erode and that erosion will be exported. This has happened before and will do so again. This time, too, is not different.
boom-to-bust  bubbles  collective_action  complacency  corruption  disaster_myopia  entrenched_interests  economic_downturn  financiers  financial_crises  financial_innovation  financial_regulation  financial_system  historical_amnesia  Mancur_Olson  Martin_Wolf  policymakers  politicians  politics  procyclicality  regulatory_arbitrage  regulation  regulators  stress-tests  This_Time_is_Different  U.S._Federal_Reserve 
march 2019 by jerryking
At BlackRock, a Wall Street Rock Star’s $5 Trillion Comeback - The New York Times
SEPT. 15, 2016 | NYT | By LANDON THOMAS Jr.

(1) Laurence Fink: “If you think you know everything about our business, you are kidding yourself,” he said. “The biggest question we have to answer is: ‘Are we developing the right leaders?’” “Are you,” he asked, “prepared to be one of those leaders?”

(2) BlackRock was thriving because of its focus on low-risk, low-cost funds and the all-seeing wonders of Aladdin. BlackRock sees the future of finance as being rules-based, data-driven, systematic investment styles such as exchange-traded funds, which track a variety of stock and bond indexes or adhere to a set of financial rules. Fink believes that his algorithmic driven style will, over time, grow faster than the costlier “active investing” model in which individuals, not algorithms, make stock, bond and asset allocation decisions.

Most money management firms highlight their investment returns first, and risk controls second. BlackRock has taken a reverse approach: It believes that risk analysis, such as gauging how a security will trade if interest rates go up or down, improves investment results.

(3) BlackRock, along with central banks, sovereign wealth funds — have become the new arbiters of "flow.“ It is not about the flow of securities anymore, it is about the flow of information and indications of interest.”

(4) Asset Liability and Debt and Derivatives Investment Network (Aladdin), is BlackRock's big data-mining, risk-mitigation platform/framework. Aladdin is a network of code, trades, chat, algorithms and predictive models that on any given day can highlight vulnerabilities and opportunities connected to the trillions that BlackRock firm tracks — including the portion which belongs to outside firms that pay BlackRock a fee to have access to the platform. Aladdin stress-tests how securities will respond to certain situations (e.g. a sudden rise in interest rates or what happens in the event of a political surprise, like Donald J. Trump being elected president.)

In San Francisco, a team of equity analysts deploys data analysis to study the language that CEOs use during an earnings call. Unusually bearish this quarter, compared with last? If so, maybe the stock is a sell. “We have more information than anyone,” Mr. Fink said.
systematic_approaches  ETFs  Wall_Street  BlackRock  Laurence_Fink  asset_management  traders  complacency  future  finance  Aladdin  risk-management  financiers  financial_services  central_banks  money_management  information_flows  volatility  economic_downturn  liquidity  bonds  platforms  frameworks  stress-tests  monitoring  CEOs  succession  risk-analysis  leadership  order_management_system  sovereign_wealth_funds  market_intelligence  intentionality  data_mining  collective_intelligence  risk-mitigation  rules-based  risks  asset_values  scaling  scenario-planning  databases 
september 2016 by jerryking
Goldman Sachs Has Started Giving Away Its Most Valuable Software - WSJ
Sept. 7, 2016

Securities DataBase, or SecDB, the system remains Goldman’s prime tool for measuring risk and analyzing the prices of securities, and it calculates 23 billion prices across 2.8 million positions daily. It has played a crucial role in many of the seminal moments of the firm’s recent history, including its controversial trading just ahead of the financial crisis.....There is perhaps no better sign of the changes that have engulfed Wall Street than this: Goldman has recently started giving clients the tools that made it a trading powerhouse, for free.

The firm’s motives aren’t altruistic; rather, many of the edges that once made Goldman’s traders feared and admired have been blunted. New rules have limited banks’ trading risks, and made it costly to hold large inventories of stocks and bonds on their books. And electronic trading has squeezed margins, dimming the clamor of trading floors across Wall Street....Traders and executives tap into SecDB to inform how to price securities, and how the value of those assets may change with a twist on the dial on any one of thousands of potential variables. That information can be used to analyze potential trades—and then to monitor the risks posed by those positions.

What made it the envy of Wall Street, though, was its ability to scale up to include new classes of securities, new trading desks, even whole businesses. And the data it harnessed was all in one place.
Wall_Street  Goldman_Sachs  tools  traders  risk-management  informational_advantages  software  free  databases  platforms  CIOs  proprietary  slight_edge  Aladdin  Martin_Chavez  scaling  SecDB  seminal_moments  asset_values  scenario-planning  stress-tests 
september 2016 by jerryking
BlackRock’s Aladdin: genie not included -
July 11, 2014 | FT |By Tracy Alloway.
(Risk management technology is no substitute for investor instinct)
Aladdin is BlackRock's current, state of the art risk and order management system. Aladdin has been described as BlackRock’s “central nervous system” but what is less well-known is that the operating platform also acts as the brains at some 60 other financial firms which altogether handle a whopping $14tn worth of assets.

At banks, investment managers and trading outfits around the world, Aladdin’s genie is hard at work analysing portfolios, running stress test scenarios and generally employing BlackRock’s “collective intelligence” to perform a whole host of financial functions....the increasingly significant role that Aladdin and its 25m lines of code plays in the wider financial markets has, with notable exceptions, largely been overlooked....The role of these formulas or programs tends to go unnoticed but they often play two key roles in the build-ups to financial crises. Firstly they give investors and traders a potentially dangerous sense of control over risk. Second, as their use proliferates, they also encourage a build-up of “one-way” bets as investors increasingly come to rely on similar data and analysis.
BlackRock  Laurence_Fink  asset_management  pretense_of_knowledge  long-term  risk-management  Wall_Street  collective_intelligence  systemic_risks  order_management_system  algorithms  platforms  Aladdin  stress-tests  overconfidence  overlooked  false_confidence  scenario-planning  financial_crises 
july 2014 by jerryking
Charlie Rose's Interview with Ray Dalio
October 20, 2011 | Charlie Rose Show | with Ray Dalio.

CHARLIE ROSE: And you always make a point that you know what you don`t know and that`s equally valuable.

RAY DALIO: More valuable. I want to say that -- so this is the whole philosophy. I -- I so, know that I can be wrong; and look, we all should recognize that we can be wrong. And if we recognize that we`re wrong and we worry about being wrong than what we should do is have a thoughtful dialogue....RAY DALIO: So the way I get to success. The way -- it`s not what I know. I`ve acquired some things that I know along the way and they`re helpful.


CHARLIE ROSE: It is -- it is -- it`s not what you know but it is --


RAY DALIO: It`s knowing what I don`t know or worrying that I won`t -- that I`ll be wrong that makes me find --


RAY DALIO: Well, I want people to criticize my point of view -- I want to hold down.


RAY DALIO: Say I have a -- I think this but I may be wrong. And if you can attack what I`m saying -- in other words stress test what I`m saying -- I`ll learn....CHARLIE ROSE: And you have not been precise, and your assumptions are flawed.

RAY DALIO: Oh it`s so essential, right. There`s -- the -- the number one principle at our place is that if something doesn`t make sense to you, you have the right to explore it, to see if it makes sense.

I don`t want people around who do things that they don`t -- they don`t think makes sense because I`m going to have not-thinking people.



RAY DALIO: So that they have not only the right, they have obligation. Don`t walk away thinking something`s wrong.

CHARLIE ROSE: Failure teaches you more than success?

RAY DALIO: Of course. One of my favorite books is "Einstein`s Mistakes."

CHARLIE ROSE: Right. And because it showed you that even Einstein, the most brilliant person of the century in common judgment made mistakes?

RAY DALIO: The great fallacy of all -- I think of all of mankind practically -- I mean that`s a big statement -- but the great fallacy is that people know more than what they do and there`s a discovery process and so when you look at -- that`s the process for learning.

The process for learning is to say "I don`t know." Like, I`m -- I`m totally comfortable being incompetent. If I -- if I -- I like being incompetent. I don`t mind being an incompetent. If I don`t -- how -- how much can you be competent about?

And so that whole notion of do you like learning? Do you like finding out what`s true and building on it without an ego? And that becomes the problem. How many statements do you listen to people that begin "I think this, I think that," where they should be asking "I wonder."
Ray_Dalio  interviews  truth-clarity  philanthropy  stress-tests  Charlie_Rose  truth-telling  Bridgewater  hedge_funds  deleveraging  organizational_culture  economics  unknowns  pretense_of_knowledge  Albert_Einstein  mistakes 
january 2012 by jerryking
Illness as Economic Metaphor -
JUNE 20, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | By MICHAEL MILKEN and JONATHAN SIMONS. The first rule, as always, is do no harm.

"[There's] a remarkable alignment between treatment regimens for sick economies and sick people. In both cases, it's important at some point to let the patient's immune system carry the load of recovery. Overtreatment is bad medicine.

Before the 1970s, our economy's "immune system" resided in financial institutions, especially banks and insurance companies. Companies looked to these institutions for capital that could restore growth and create jobs whenever the economy got sick. Beginning with the 1974-75 recession, however, capital markets took over the healing function; equity and bond markets provided the "antibodies" that corporate America could depend on to fight off the infection of recession.

Economies that lack the crucial immune-system component of a corporate bond market tend to suffer longer, deeper recessions. The most obvious case in point is Japan, whose banks struggled to recapitalize in the 1990s.
Michael_Milken  economic_downturn  metaphors  immune_system  financial_institutions  capital_markets  '70s  stress-tests  deleveraging 
june 2009 by jerryking

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