lundi, juillet 21, 2008

Comment réglementer les marchés financiers

Excellent texte aujourd'hui dans le Wall Street Journal qui rejoins mes lectures actuelles. Intitulé Markets Police Themselves Poorly, But Regulation Has Its Flaws (ici, abonnement requis), le texte fait état du défit de la réglementation des marchés financiers de manière pondérée. D'une part, il note au sujet de l'autorégulation par le marché:
For much of the past quarter-century, policy has tilted away from strict regulation and toward relying on market discipline to keep the financial system on an even keel. Market players, the thinking went, had an incentive not to push themselves or their counterparties too far, because they had too much to lose if they did.

"Market discipline exists in theory, but in practice, ahead of each crisis, what we see is quite the opposite," Ms. Reinhart says.

Such discipline clearly broke down at places like Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, which in the past nine months have written down more than $80 billion combined on bad investments. They took too many risks on complex mortgage investments that they created but didn't adequately understand. More broadly, Wall Street's version of market discipline produced the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression -- just a few years after a burst bubble in Internet stocks.
D'autre part, il note que l'autre option, la réglementation, n'est pas sans faille: Yet in recent days, the alternative to market discipline -- regulation -- hasn't stood up very well to scrutiny either.

De fait, paradoxalement, des segments du marché non réglementés, tels que les fonds de couverture non pas été touchés par la crise récente.
Ironically, hedge funds -- which are largely unregulated, and where market discipline remains the government's main policy tool -- haven't produced a major blowup this cycle. The Federal Reserve has pushed investment banks to ensure that their hedge-fund clients don't borrow too much and get overextended.
Toutefois, l'article omet de mentionner les implosions de fonds de couverture survenus au cours des dernières années, par exemple Amaranth.

Ainsi, l'article souligne le défi de l'encadrement des marchés:
The conclusion is humbling. Policy makers need to fix a broken financial system with policy levers they know are damaged, too. The pendulum between market forces and regulation has no reassuring place to swing, though in the short-run, it is surely swinging toward regulation.

Pour ceux qui s'intéressent à ces questions, je recommande Regulatory Capitalism de Braithwaite que je lis présentement. Excellent.

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