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Restoring Financial Stability: How to Repair a Failed System (Wiley Finance) [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Viral Acharya , Matthew Richardson , New York University Stern School of Business

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Kurzbeschreibung

2. April 2009 Wiley Finance (Buch 542)
An insightful look at how to reform our broken financial system
 
The financial crisis that unfolded in September 2008 transformed the United States and world economies. As each day's headlines brought stories of bank failures and rescues, government policies drawn and redrawn against the backdrop of an historic Presidential election, and solutions that seemed to be discarded almost as soon as they were proposed, a group of thirty-three academics at New York University Stern School of Business began tackling the hard questions behind the headlines. Representing fields of finance, economics, and accounting, these professors-led by Dean Thomas Cooley and Vice Dean Ingo Walter-shaped eighteen independent policy papers that proposed market-focused solutions to the problems within a common framework. In December, with great urgency, they sent hand-bound copies to Washington. Restoring Financial Stability is the culmination of their work.
* Proposes bold, yet principled approaches-including financial policy alternatives and specific courses of action-to deal with this unprecedented, systemic financial crisis
* Created by the contributions of various academics from New York University's Stern School of Business
* Provides important perspectives on both the causes of the global financial crisis as well as proposed solutions to ensure it doesn't happen again
* Contains detailed evaluations and analyses covering many spectrums of the marketplace
 
Edited by Matthew Richardson and Viral Acharya, this reliable resource brings together the best thinking of finance and economics from the faculty of one of the top universities in world.

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Pressestimmen

"In conclusion, this book should be read by every serious observer of the crisis. It is an outstanding contribution." (Lombard Street)
 
"...ably tackles complex issues and covers a wide spectrum of the current debate, including the multiplicity of regulators, the need for international regulatory coordination, transparency, fair value accounting, compensation reform, and the extent to which monetary policy should address systemic asset bubbles." (The Investment Professional)
 
"...the book that best combines history, analysis and prescription is "Restoring Financial Stability", a series of essays by academics at New York University's Stern School of Business. The 60-page prologue is packed with telling facts and sophisticated analysis, and alone is worth the steep cover price. The individual chapters deal methodically with the myriad issues raised by the crunch, and the policy changes that will be needed, covering everything from the American mortgage market to the need for international cooperation in regulating finance." (The Economist)

Rezension

"This an excellent book. It is the first academic book to consider the crisis in depth and to propose policy responses and solutions. . . broad and deep overview of the crisis [that makes] suggestions for how to minimize the chances of a recurrence going forward. . . essential institutional detail and makes sensible and often original suggestions for reform. One of the remarkable aspects of the book is the speed with which it was produced. . . This book should be read by every serious observer of the crisis. It is an outstanding contribution."
Franklin Allen., Nippon Life Professor of Finance, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in FinReg21.com

"The best available on this extraordinary and fascinating subject. . . brilliant idea, superbly executed, and has first-class content. Buy it."
VoxEu.org


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Amazon.com: 4.7 von 5 Sternen  6 Rezensionen
21 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Best Book on Crisis So Far 10. Mai 2009
Von Samuel J. Sharp - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I read this book immediately after I finished Cooper's The Origin of Financial Crises which was highly recommended by the usually trustworthy Economist. For several reasons, Restoring Financial Stability (RFS) is the best book on the current crisis by a long ways. I am shocked that there is only one Amazon review so far.

RFS is neither dumbed-down nor overly complex. Anyone who reads the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times will easily grasp the material covered and the language being used. The sources cited for the individual essays are predominately articles from academic journals but the authors of RFS do a nice job of summarizing the important points from these articles rather than assuming the reader is familiar with the sources. I am a history major and had no trouble following the authors.

You do not need to be interested in the solutions proposed in order to buy the book. The policy recommendations are brief and follow the much more important background information covering the causes and progression of the financial meltdown.

The book is especially worth reading because of its refreshing objectivity. It is not a political book or an anti-capitalism book. It tells the story of self-interested actors altering their behavior according to the incentives before them. The book focuses on these incentives and how they might be adjusted in order to achieve the same ends without the risk of harmful macroeconomic effects.
21 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Forest vs Trees 13. Juni 2009
Von EWC - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Restoring Financial Stability is the best book I've read on the crisis so far. It is filled with valuable data. It covers many different aspects of the situation. And, for the most part, it is even handed in its criticisms, never resorting to the many highly biased political explanations. But from my perspective it falls short on several counts.

Most importantly, this crisis was clearly a supply driven phenomena. It's not as though the demand for housing drove up the price of financing - quite the opposite. A worldwide excess of short-term funding drove up the price of assets. Gladly, the book does not resort to the trite argument that the Fed inflated the money supply by lowering short-term interest rates following the 2002 recession, as M2/GDP fails to convincingly confirm much if any monetary inflation. Instead, the book unfortunately makes no account of the source of this funding whatsoever. It never even crosses its radar screen. I would say that misses the forest from the trees!

The book also fails to put the US financial system and it's regulations into the proper context. In a world awash in short-term funding, banks strove to borrow and lend this capital within the confines of their limited equity and capital adequacy requirements. They did this by logically raising additional equity off-balance sheet to take advantage of segmenting capital markets and by selling risky tranches of debt with high equity requirements to outside investors. In addition to lending, banks also earn profits by holding duration risk - it's the raison d'être for banking. Banks clearly compared spreads to the equity requirements for each tranche and chose to hold tranches with the highest return. Logically designed regulation led them to hold the least risky, AAA, tranches. Public market valuations supported these decisions.

The book argues that banks thwarted capital adequacy requirements. In one instance it cited the mere fact that banks held less risky AAA securities with logically lower regulatory capital adequacy requirements as proof that banks engaged in regulatory arbitrage (e.g. figure 2.3). That surely does not make the case. It claims banks used off balance sheet SIVs to avoid capital adequacy requirements but it is careful to never definitively accounts for the combination of capital held both on and off balance sheet. Instead, the authors claim capital adequacy requirements for liquidity enhancement alone would have allowed banks to hold one tenth the capital requirement on-balance sheet, but to make that narrow argument, one would have to be referring only to the capital used to derive FDIC premiums (a side issue) and not capital adequacy requirements essential to the core argument. Regardless, others have calculated that banks would have needed to hold 12 to 15% equity vs. the pittance required by regulators for AAA rated (mortgage) securities. To suggest that regulatory arbitrage and not regulations themselves is the source of the problem requires showing dramatic examples of arbitrage which the book never does without resorting to the kinds of gimmicks described above.

Regulations require banks to hold 4 to 8% equity against loans. They also allow investors to buy equity with 50% margin. The chief way to reduce capital requirements is to tranche loans, sell off the risky first-loss equity-heavy tranches and then lend money to the buyer of these tranches. The book makes virtually no account of this. At the same time, bank regulation and margin requirements are long standing and time tested. Bank regulators, rating agencies and capital markets are sophisticated; it's not as though banks operated without these institutions largely recognizing the critical issues. Perhaps regulators could have plugged this hole but it would have had repercussions elsewhere and the resulting equity requirements are not dissimilar to those imposed on Freddie and Fannie. In part, regulations have been politically designed to encourage home ownership at the expense of increased financial stability. Again, an analysis of this core issue is simply unaddressed by the book.

Thin equity requirements are built on a long-standing underlying regulatory assumption that financial risk is predominately unsystematic. Ratings that turn the collateralized tails of B tranches into A tranches are consistent with this view. The book presents public market prices of tranches that are not substantially inconsistent with this view. To argue that banks were undercapitalized, especially in light of the fact that they were not undercapitalized relative to their worldwide counterparts, is to challenge this underlying regulatory assumption. But to make this argument one must present historical evidence that this assumption is in fact mistaken. The book never raises the issue directly nor does it present any evidence. The argument must also show the cost-benefit of the holding more equity against the benefit of increased protection from 50 year storms or simply that we should have left available short-term debt un-invested, something, I doubt which has ever been done. It might well be the case that we should risk the capital rather than letting it sit idle and suffer the occasional consequences. On page 136, the authors concede that "...to avoid systematic risk the capital requirements may be too imposing..." This critical topic, perhaps the very core of the debate, warrants far more than a sentence! Again, it's off the radar screen.

One solution is to insist that homeowners hold 20% equity. That clearly shifts the risk from financial institutions and investors to homeowners, perhaps the group least able, financially, to bear that risk. Homeowners logically sold that risk to investors, including the US-quasi owned Freddie and Fannie, who appear to have under-priced that risk relative to historical standards. If prices are low, why shouldn't homeowners sell off this risk and if they logically do, why don't they (i.e. taxpayers) benefit, all things considered? Again, these core tradeoffs are unaddressed by the book's analysis.

As an aside, I would also contend that many of the book's arguments are sloppy. Take the argument on compensation as an example. The book shows evidence that the compensation of financial sector CEOs was more skewed toward equity ownership relative to other sectors, that it was surprisingly well linked to market valuations and that it generated appropriately wide dispersion between top and bottom performers. It goes on to cites, without details, one countervailing study that claims financial sector compensation was 20% less correlated to market valuations than other sectors. From that evidence it argues that compensation was improperly designed. That might be true but the evidence presented surely does not convincingly support that conclusions. If anything, a tighter link would have driven more compensation into 2003 when markets rebounded outside the control of company managers. Further, public markets clearly rewarded risk-taking. The book also simply ignores the large volume of liberal academic studies denying the link between stock market valuations and shareholder designed compensation structures that align incentives to share prices with managerial behavior. Without any reference to this literature, academia has now widely concluded that bonuses largely paid as shares that vested over time over-incented managerial behavior (i.e. risk-taking). Even if the book's argument on compensation is accurate, it's superficial at best. In general, my complaint with the logic is that it largely fails to address the significance of the null hypotheses and in many cases the same data could be used to argue the opposite conclusion.

Lastly, I would contend that if we had implemented every single one of the book's recommendations it would have had very little effect on the current situation. Capital would have had to have sat idle or been diverted from other more successful endeavors. It seems unlikely that precious capital would have or should have simply sat idle to protect against 50 year storms. And had other endeavors been more logical, capital should have and would have flowed to them assuming regulations were consistently applied. The problem lies in the fact that a surplus of short-term financing existed relative to the available investment opportunities, opportunities that are always, by their very nature, long-term. And further, that relative to this expanded supply, the equity available to underwrite the resulting duration risk was, logically, in short supply. The supply of short-term debt relative to the equity available to underwrite this risk is more than merely a matter of relative price. Japanese and Swiss interest rates, for example, have demonstrated that risk adverse short-term investors are largely insensitive to returns so changing relative returns will not covert debt into equity in order to adjust the mix. Again, the book makes no argument why increased regulations, changes to incentive structures or any other of its recommendations in part or in whole would have altered this market imbalance. At "best", it would have left short-term capital underinvested or consumed. More likely, it would have reduced returns to equity and may have exacerbated this imbalance. Again, this core issue is unaddressed by the book. Instead, cries of, "Too much debt!" (i.e. not enough equity) and, "Too little regulation!" implicitly assume as their starting point that regulation can correct this imbalance (or at least divert it from our financial infrastructure; that consuming rather than investing this surplus would be better for society in the long run; or that it would be wiser to let some other economy invest this capital. All seem unlikely.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Outstanding resource and guide 16. April 2009
Von Christopher Myrick - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
NYU Stern has put together a tremendous, comprehensive and timely guide to the ongoing financial crisis. The book superbly summarizes the roots of the crisis, the scale of the problems across the financial sector and possible public policy solutions in a clear and non-partisan manner. This is a volume that I hope finds its way to the desks of every policy maker and politician - both in the US and abroad. I would also strongly recommend this to everyone involved in banking or finance (including, and perhaps particularly, financial journalists).

For those interested in the text's contents, Stern has a fantastic site featuring on-line resources including video of the book-launch conference and executive summaries of each of the book's chapters ( [...] )
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Wide-Ranging Assessment of What Went Wrong and How to Prevent Recurrence 7. Juni 2009
Von Michael Israel - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Restoring Financial Stability is, in this reviewer's opinion, the single most comprehensive book published to date on the great credit meltdown that began in 2007 and is now nearing two years in length. The book is organized as a series of parts covering different aspects of the crisis, each of which is in turn divided into 2-3 chapters that are essentially
"white papers" written by different contributing authors. The book begins with a well-written overview chapter describing the key events of the crisis up to the time of publication. The book then moves into the causes and sub-causes of the crisis, with the general thrust moving over time from descibing what happened to prescriptions for preventing future occurrences.

While the individual chapters are written by different contributors, the book reads smoothly and does not feel disjointed as is sometimes the case with books that have multiple authors. The book's organization and editing makes it seem as if it was written by a single author. While it offers much more sophisticated insight than what has generally been written in the business and financial press (let alone the general news media), I think that most readers with a decent working knowledge of financial markets will find it to be quite accessible.

The book contains many insights that go far beyond the fairly simplistic explanations that have abounded in the news media. I found the following to be particularly valuable:

(1) The makes an excellent argument that the credit risk transfer process was not flawed in itself but that the large financial institutions chose to not make full use of the risk transfer tools available to them. Through the sponsorship of SIV's, retention of CDO super senior risk, and other moves, many of the large banks effectively kept much of the risk that was supposedly being passed on to other market participants.
(2) The book offers some very usedul insights on the evolution of large complex financial institutions ("LCFI's"), how they grew out of the regulatory relaxation that began in the 1990's, and how the systemic risks created by LCFI's have effectively subsidized the companies and led to inefficient (for the system as a whole) compensation arrangements.
(3) Another recurring theme throughout the book is how rules and financial market innovations intended to reduce institution-specific risks were effectively "gamed" by different market participants to create a tremendous level of systemic risk.

Restoring Financial Stability is a must-read for anyone who is trying to make sense of the continuing financial crisis, and I recommend it highly.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Peeling the onion 11. September 2009
Von Yogesh Upadhyaya - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The financial crisis was an event of great complexity given the multitude of players and the complexity of various financial instruments amongst other things. However, there are many simple underlying reasons for why individual elements of the system did not work the way they were supposed to. Simple that is, if the crisis is explained the way it is in this book. The onion has been peeled without jargon making the book accessible to anyone who has basic familiarity with financial institutions and markets.

The different chapters of the book do a great job of finding the reason for different elements of the crisis. For example, questions such as why did the rating agencies not do their job are answered in terms of what their business models incentivizes them to do. Similar questions of incentives have been asked and answered about the management of large financial institutions. The book, in my view rightly, focuses not on level of incentives but on how the incentives encourage executives of financial institutions to take large risks.

I also liked the humility displayed by the authors in their recommendations. So for example, if the "issuer pays" model of rating agencies has a built in conflict of interest, the author does not shy away from pointing out the disadvantages and risks of alternate business models.

It would be very useful if the authors of the book came up with a status report on their recommendations. I for one would like to know how much progress has been made in tackling the root causes of the crisis.
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