This post comes to us from Professor John Morley, who is currently an associate professor of law at the University of Virginia School of Law. He will be joining the Yale Law School faculty as an associate professor this July.
In my new paper, “The Separation of Investments and Management,” I suggest a basic shift in the way we think about investment funds. The essence of these funds and their regulation lies not just in the nature of their investments, as we commonly believe, but also—and more importantly—in the nature of their organization.
Every type of … Read more
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (the “Basel Committee”), in consultation with the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, recently published a final document concerning supervisory monitoring tools for intraday liquidity management (the “Intraday Liquidity Document”).
The Intraday Liquidity Document complements the Basel Committee’s overall liquidity risk management framework by setting forth a new set of metrics (or “ monitoring tools”) intended to enable national supervisors to monitor banks’ intraday liquidity risk and ability to meet payment and settlement obligations on a timely basis under both normal and stressed conditions. The tools are also intended to benefit authorities responsible for … Read more
The comment period has now closed on the controversial proposed rule (FBO Proposal) of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) implementing Sections 165 and 166 of the Dodd-Frank Act (Dodd-Frank) for foreign banking organizations (FBOs) and foreign nonbank financial companies supervised by the Board.
If the FBO Proposal becomes final in the manner proposed, it will mark a sea change in the regulation of the U.S. operations of FBOs, by requiring FBOs with $50 billion or more in total global consolidated assets and $10 billion or more in total U.S. nonbranch assets to form an intermediate … Read more
My forthcoming article, Irredeemably Inefficient Acts: A Threat to Markets, Firms, and the Fisc, identifies a category of acts that clearly and inevitably reduce social welfare. These acts—which I call irredeemably inefficient—have not been expressly recognized in previous work. Yet the distinction I draw reflects a fundamental feature of the U.S. antitrust law, justifies several recent Delaware Chancery Court decisions, and suggests substantial rethinking of some important aspects of securities and commodities regulation.
Irredeemably inefficient acts have remained outside of the standard theory of public enforcement of law. That theory holds that inefficient conduct may be converted into … Read more
High frequency trading has led to widespread efforts to reduce information propagation delays between physically distant exchanges. In my recent paper Information Transmission between Financial Markets in Chicago and New York, co-authored with Gregory Laughlin and Anthony Aguirre of UC Santa Cruz, we use relativistically correct millisecond-resolution tick data to document a 3-millisecond decrease in one-way communication time between the Chicago and New York areas that occurred from April 27th, 2010 to August 17th, 2012. We attribute the first segment of this decline to the introduction of a latency-optimized fiber optic connection in late 2010. A second … Read more
Experienced readers of Warren Buffett’s letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. have gained an enormously valuable informal education. The central theme uniting Buffett’s lucid essays is that the principles of fundamental business analysis, first formulated by his teachers at Columbia Business School, Ben Graham and David Dodd, should guide investment practice.
This stance conflicts with the dominant view of contemporary teachers of finance, which stresses modern finance theory’s efficient market hypothesis to challenge whether such fundamental analysis can be practiced successfully. Debate over this question nevertheless continues, in academia and on Wall Street, raising issues of great important … Read more
It’s tempting to think that we might be seeing the end of potential manipulation of financial benchmarks and rates, such as Libor.
The story would go like this: the Libor rate was an anomaly – humorous in retrospect – that was structured in a way prone to manipulation because it relied on the subjective (and objectively unverifiable) judgments of bank personnel who were subject to conflicts of interest. Having weathered that scandal, we have now grown wiser. The FSA’s recent reforms of the rate-setting process have constrained the opportunities for ex ante human discretion in Libor: they treat Libor panel … Read more
In the turmoil created by the decision of the Cyprus Government to impose a 6.75% levy on deposits up to 100,000 euros and 9% above, it might be useful to look at the legal aspects of this decision. The issue of a guarantee scheme for deposits is not new, and even Cyprus established such a scheme in 2000. This posts walks through the relevant European and Cypriot regulation. I argue that there is no precedent for Cyprus’ levy and that it creates a serious risk of contagion.
On July 12, 2010, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal … Read more
On February 28, I submitted a letter on Money Market Fund Reform to the Financial Stability Oversight Council in response to their November 2012 request for comments on a number of alternative proposals. I endorse the so-called “Minimum Balance at Risk Proposal,” in which fund sponsors would create a capital buffer by contributing or raising capital of one percent of a money market fund’s assets while fund investors would be subject to delayed redemption of three percent of their account over $100,000. This approach could cause sponsors to internalize the costs of portfolio security selection while forcing large fund investors … Read more
On June 7, 2013, CalPERS is hosting its inaugural Sustainability & Finance Symposium in Davis, California. The event is co-chaired by Professor Robert J. Jackson, Jr. of Columbia Law School on behalf of the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Ownership. The symposium is part of a larger initiative being undertaken by CalPERS to drive innovative thought leadership that will inform and advance our understanding of sustainability factors and the impact they may have on companies, markets, and investment intermediaries from the perspective of a large, global, long-term, and multi-class institutional asset owner.
The symposium is seeking … Read more
My forthcoming article, Interbank Discipline, draws attention to the important role that banks play monitoring and disciplining other banks. To understand the significance of interbank discipline, the Article proposes a new way of thinking about market discipline more generally. In the first wave, advocates of market discipline viewed it as a basis for deregulation. Why expend government resources duplicating the efforts of market participants, the rationale went, particularly considering that regulation can discourage market discipline and markets are often more effective than regulators? The 2007-2009 financial crisis, and numerous scandals preceding it, largely brought an end to such reasoning. … Read more
The article, The Custom-to-Failure Cycle, which I wrote with my research assistant Lucy Chang (Duke Law School class of 2012), examines how reliance on heuristic-based customs can lead to financial failures. In areas of complexity, people often rely on heuristics—by which we broadly mean simplifications of reality that allow people to make decisions in spite of their limited ability to process information. When this reliance becomes routine and widespread within a community, it can develop into a custom. This type of custom may not—and indeed, our article assumes, does not—become the basis for law per se. Rather, it is … Read more
The year 2013 is likely to be a watershed time in the development of shadow banking oversight and regulation. Of particular note are three upcoming developments: (1) the Financial Stability Board (the FSB) has commenced public consultations on its initial proposals and final recommendations are scheduled to be released in September 2013; (2) the USA will soon begin designating its first nonbank Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs), and will clarify its plans for regulating such entities in practice; and (3) the European Systemic Risk Board is preparing to recommend shadow banking oversight changes in early 2013. It is therefore an … Read more
A panel of three judges in the D.C. Circuit stunned Washington on Friday by striking down President Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB in Noel Canning v. NLRB on a basis much more sweeping than had been anticipated. The two holdings in the decision cast doubt over the longstanding practice of intrasession recess appointment, which has been used especially frequently in the last two decades.
For financial institutions, the decision is of direct interest because it calls into question President Obama’s recess appointment that same day of Richard Cordray as Director of the CFPB and, as a result, all of … Read more
In the policy-oriented paper, “Re-energizing the IPO Market,”which will be published in the 2013 Brookings Press book Restructuring to Speed Economic Recovery, I summarize results from a number of my related co-authored papers and address why IPO volume, and especially small company IPO volume, has been so depressed for more than a decade.
From 1980-2000, an annual average of 310 operating companies went public in the U.S. During 2001-2011, on average only 99 operating companies went public. This decline occurred in spite of the doubling of real gross domestic product (GDP) during this 32-year period. The decline … Read more
Columbia Law School Professor Robert J. Jackson Jr. recently moderated a lively debate on financial innovation before a panel of experts including Congressman Barney Frank, The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, Nobel Laureate Robert Solow, and Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The full press release can be viewed here and the entire debate can be viewed here.… Read more
The paper, Towards a Legal Theory of Finance, develops the building blocks for a legal theory of finance (LTF). By placing law at the center of the analysis of financial systems LTF sheds light on the construction of financial markets, their interconnectedness and thus vulnerability to crisis, and situates power where law is elastic or suspended in the name of financial stability. LTF has four elements: It holds that modern financial markets are (1) rule-bound systems; (2) essentially hybrid; (3) beset by the law-finance paradox; (4) and in the last instance subject to discretionary rather than rule-bound actions.
Rule-bound … Read more