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(11/6) 今回の決済機関の案は磐石な基盤の上に築かなければならない (FT)
JUGEMテーマ:経済全般
JUGEMテーマ:時事ニュース

 

2009116日にFinancial Timesが掲載した記事です。

 

本来は取引を円滑に行う基盤を投資家に提供することで市場を活性化させることを目的に作られた決済機関に、将来の危機を防ぐような役割を求めるのであれば、決済機関を国が提供するということもありうると思います。営利団体にしておきながら、そこまでの公共性を持たせることは無理なのではないかと思います。決済を一箇所に集めて監視を続ければ市場が安定する、ということもないと思います。民間でできることは民間にやらせる、というお題目はわかりますが、公的な性格を持つべきものを民間にやらせるのはどうかと思います。

[抄訳]

多くの政治家が複雑な金融の危険に思慮をめぐらし取り組んでいる中で、「決済機関」という言葉が問題を解決してくれる魔法の杖のように見られるようになっている。デリバティブの契約を中央で決済する機関に集め、適切な監視を施し、危機に陥った時でも決済が続けられるようにするのだ。

 

しかし、この議論には重要な落とし穴がある。決済機関がが投資家に対してあらゆる重要な面で確実性をもたらしてくれるのは、決済機関が常に絶対的に磐石であるという前提があってのことだ。決済機関が将来の危機に立ち向かうのに十分に強固なのかどうかをどのように担保するかについての議論はほとんど行われていない。

 

議論が行われないのは、決済機関が破綻するようなことが今までなく、そのような状況を想像できないからかもしれない。しかし、政治的に微妙な感覚の影響を受けているように思える。もし決済機関をそこまで磐石なものにしようとすると参加者が大きな経済的な負担を負うことになる。これは決済機関への参加者を制限することにつながる。政治家が避けたいと考えていることだ。広い参加者を募りながら安全性を確保するということになると政府自身が決済機関の後ろ盾とならざるを得なくなる。この選択肢も政治家にとっては好ましくない。政府が金融機関を救い続けることで民衆の怒りを買うことにつながるからだ。

 

決済機関は中央銀行の監視下に置かれるべきだとか、主要な参加者が同時に2社つぶれたとしても決済が続けられるのに十分な用意を決済機関はするべきだ、といった声が聞かれるようになってきた。金融の歴史が物語っているのは、金融システムを崩壊に導くのはデリバティブそのものではなく、いい加減な合意で済まされたり、政治的な圧力で安易な解法を行った分野が存在しているという事実である。理論的には決済機関はデリバティブの世界をより安全なものにするはずである。実際には、決済機関に堅固な基盤を持たせなければ新たな危険を生み出すことに終わる可能性がある。

 

 

[本文]

 

This clearing house idea has to be put on a sound base

The Financial Times

6 November 2009

 

For the past year, as politicians have grappled to get their heads around the perils of complex finance, many have been seeking a handy magic wand that might produce a reform fix (or, at the very least, give them something they can explain and wave to voters on prime-time television).

 

The phrase "clearing house" has often been regarded as one such seemingly magic wand. After all, even the most financially illiterate politician can see trillions of dollars are tied up in derivatives deals. They can understand how the complexity of these contracts contributed to the autumn 2008 financial panic (even if derivatives per se did not cause it).

 

Thus the idea of putting these opaque contracts into a central clearing forum, where they can be properly monitored and settled even amid a panic, has now turned into the regulatory equivalent of Motherhood and Apple Pie.

 

As entities such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange love to point out, a feature of last year's panic was that trading on financial exchanges, such as the equities market, continued even as other sectors seized up.

 

The reason for that was not just the presence of exchanges but, more importantly, the fact that investors had confidence that trades would be settled via a clearing platform, even if other investors suddenly imploded. Thus introducing clearing platforms into the credit derivatives world, say, seems a way to make the system far more resilient; or so the political rhetoric goes.

 

The argument certainly has much merit. I for one welcome the appearance of various clearing houses for credit derivatives on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet, as so often in the regulatory debate, there is a crucial catch: a clearing house can only offer that all important sense of reassurance to investors if it is always perceived to be absolutely rock solid. What is notable about the reform debate this year, is that there has been remarkably little public discussion among politicians - or among regulators - about how to guarantee that any future clearing house will be strong enough to withstand future shocks.

 

In part, that silence may reflect a lack of imagination. Politicians and regulators have never seen a situation where a clearing house has collapsed; leaving aside one small exception in the commodities world a few decades ago, that has never happened before. However, I suspect the silence may also reflect delicate political sensibilities. If politicians were to demand that a clearing house should be so utterly rock solid that it could withstand financial Armageddon, the future members of any clearing platform would have to make massive financial commitments. That would necessarily limit membership to a small cabal of ultra-powerful banks - not something that most politicians wish to encourage.

 

However, if a clearing house is made more accessible to a wider pool of members, then it will only have credibility if it is backstopped by the government itself to ensure that trades are always settled. Most politicians are not keen to highlight that option either, given the wider sense of public anger about the degree to which the government is bailing out the financial world.

 

Nevertheless, a few lone voices are trying to stir up more debate. Gerry Corrigan, the former governor of the New York Fed, for example, recently declared that any future clearing house needed to be placed under the supervision of central banks. More controversially, he demanded that any clearing house for credit derivatives should have enough resources to be able to withstand the failure of two large members on the same day - and still keep trading. "I believe that the operational and financial integrity of such counterparty clearing facilities must be virtually failsafe," Mr Corrigan sternly declared*.

 

These strike me as sensible suggestions. And behind the scenes, some policymakers strongly support what the former governor has demanded. Yet, thus far, it is still unclear whether such tough standards will be imposed - even though some clearing houses are now emerging. And that is precisely why men such as Mr Corrigan are growing uneasy.

 

One lesson that financial history shows is that the issues which blow up the financial system are not usually those which caused the last crisis; instead, the biggest threats tend to come from the areas swathed in a lazy consensus, or where there is a strong political impetus to clutch at easy solutions. That might yet apply to the clearing houses. In theory, I still believe that clearing houses could - and should - make the derivatives world safer. In practice, though, they could end up creating new dangers if they are not put on a sound footing - particularly if the fact that no clearing house has ever failed before creates a false sense of security.

 

| Merlion | 10:42 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | pookmark |
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