Finance 2018

From the consumer to the commercial world – how AI is driving intelligent payments We are entering an exciting new age with business able to proactively anticipate future trends, Russell Bennett writes The Isle of Man’s banking sector - where are we now and what is the future? The banking industry is undergoing a seismic shift. John Hunter is confident that the Isle of Man is well-placed to face future changes The international role of the euro Konstantinos Efstathiou and Francesco Papadia assess whether the euro area should pursue a greater international role for the euro, as outlined by Jean-Claude Juncker, and how it might go about doing so The role of the European Union in fostering convergence Benoît Cœuré focusses on the CESEE economies to explain how completion of EMU can accelerate convergence and foster cohesion in Europe The case for a central fiscal capacity in EMU Marco Buti and Nicolas Carnot argue that whilst financial union and a euro area fiscal stabilisation are substitutes in normal times, they are complementary in bad times The Federal Reserve’s framework for monitoring financial stability Transparency will enable the Federal Reserve to serve the needs of the American public and strengthen democratic legitimacy, Jerome Powell believes A more stable EMU does not require a central fiscal capacity Michel Heijdra, Tjalle Aarden, Jesper Hanson and Toep van Dijk argue that stronger financial market risk sharing and more effective use of fiscal stabilisers will mean no additional fiscal risk sharing The Big Con: reassessing the ‘Great’ Recession and its ‘fix’ The general consensus is that bad banks caused the Great Recession. Laurence Kotlikoff argues that it was a bad banking system that was the real problem Cyborg supervision James Proudman explores the impact of AI, and advanced analytics more broadly, on the safety and soundness of the firms the Bank of England supervise The outlook for the euro area economy Completing EMU has become more urgent over time, not less urgent, says Mario Draghi. Completing the banking union and starting work on the capital markets union are the best ways to respond to the threats currently facing our monetary union Winds of change: the case for new digital currency The case for digital currency is not universal. Christine Lagarde says we should investigate it further, seriously, carefully, and creatively What are we learning about AI in financial services? Throughout the history of banking, new products and processes have been an area where problems can arise. Lael Brainard warns that we should be continually vigilant for new issues in the rapidly evolving area of AI The ECB and financial stability Central banks have shown that they are effective crisis managers, but they often lack the tools to pre-emptively address financial stability risks, says Luis de Guindos. The ECB now has the necessary competences to identify such risks Cryptocurrencies: financial stability and fairness Jon Danielsson argues that if private cryptocurrencies were to find widespread economic use the result would be increased financial instability, inequality, and social instability Reforming the EU fiscal framework: a proposal by the EFB Governments must prepare for the next crisis. Roel Beetsma et al argue for a simpler and more transparent EU fiscal framework Fintech and the search for full stack financial inclusion Lael Brainard considers the current state of fintech and finds that there is reason to hope these new technologies will be combined in ways that move the needle on financial inclusion Fixing the euro needs to go beyond economics The agenda to fix the euro is hampered by conflicting national interests. Anne-Laure Delatte argues that the political governance of the EU requires reforming to overcome this coordination failure True finance – ten years after the financial crisis Mark Carney reflects on how the global financial system has become safer, simpler and fairer over the past ten years. This new financial system is a system that can serve households and businesses in bad times as well as good The international use of the euro What can we learn from past examples of currency internationalisation? Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol analyses four previous cases of debates on international currencies to reveal the different scenarios associated with their greater use Building a resilient Economic and Monetary Union Luis de Guindos urges authorities to complete reforms, focusing on reducing and sharing risk across borders and completing the banking union Increasing the effectiveness of European fiscal rules Pierre Beynet argues that increased ownership requires more flexibility and built-in positive incentives, such as allowing deviations when financed with GDP-linked bonds, which would also improve fiscal sustainability Euro area reform: an anatomy of the debate Jean Pisani-Ferry summarises the CEPR Policy Insight No 91 proposals and also addresses some of the points raised in a subsequent Vox debate on euro area reform From the great moderation to the great recession and beyond Don Kohn considers what we can learn from the last global financial crisis. He says that complacency in good times can ultimately store up problems for the global economy and financial system A financial union for the euro area How much should the economic and monetary union be deepened? Poul Thomsen shares his thoughts IMF reform: the never-ending quest De Gregorio et al introduce the latest Geneva Report on the World Economy, and highlight seven key developments affecting the monetary environment and the implications for the Fund The euro area: current status and challenges ahead Monetary policy has played the key role in the recovery, but cannot remain the only game in town, says Luis de Guindos. He adds that we now need action in other policy areas – notably fiscal policy and structural reforms Bermuda: leading the way in fintech In early 2018 Bermuda launched a fintech initiative to become a global technology hub. Caroline Caton reviews how legislation is achieving this goal Bulgaria and the ERMII Alexander Lehmann examines the criteria for Bulgaria's entry into the ERMII and the banking union, and the precedent it sets Banks as potentially crooked secret keepers Tim Jackson and Laurence Kotlikoff argue that the optimal policy for weeding out crooked bankers is full financial disclosure Monetary policy in a changing economy The US economy faces a number of longer-term structural challenges. Jerome Powell says that addressing the federal budget deficit will become increasingly important as the population ages Could the 7+7 report’s proposals destabilise the euro? In a response to Guido Tabellini, Jean Pisani-Ferry and Jeromin Zettelmeyer respond to some of the criticisms of their proposals, focusing on the broad issues of debt restructuring as ‘ultima ratio’ and regulating banks’ sovereign exposures The great fiscal lever: an Italian economic obsession Alessio Terzi argues that the efficiency of Italian investment is currently low. Specific measures can be taken to improve this situation and only once this is done should the public investment lever be used forcefully Central bank digital currency: why it matters and why not The potential benefits and risks of digital central bank money for use by the general public have been widely debated. Dirk Niepelt looks at the consequences of substituting outside for inside money Why universal basic income costs far less than you think In light of the huge benefits available from a UBI, it’s a waste of time to argue over wildly inflated cost estimates. Elizaveta Fouksman says the numbers are out there – we can pay for a basic income Risk sharing and market discipline: finding the right mix Guido Tabellini argues that proposals to enhance market discipline in the euro area are counter-productive because they increase the vulnerabilities of countries with high legacy debts Whither a fiscal capacity in EMU Lars Feld argues that the recent CEPR Policy Insight on euro area reform fails to address convincingly legacy debt problems Delivering a safe asset for the euro area Lorenzo Bini Smaghi and Michala Marcussen illustrate a proposal for a Purple bond transition that could offer a path to genuine Eurobonds The economics of blockchains Markus Brunnermeier and Joseph Abadi identify a ‘blockchain trilemma’ whereby no ledger can fully satisfy the three desirable properties of decentralisation, correctness, and cost-efficiency The blockchain catalyst for change Michael Casey, Jonah Crane, Gary Gensler, Simon Johnson and Neha Narula explore blockchain technology applications, and the potential uses for the financial sector Next steps after the Euro Summit The group of 14 French and German economists behind the recent CEPR Policy Insight argue that the Euro Summit statement represents a constructive first step and crosses red lines that were considered taboos only a few months ago Deepening EMU – political integration and economic convergence Recognising the design flaws of the currency union cannot mean calling the whole project into question. The only viable option is to continue the deepening of EMU through political and economic convergence, Yves Mersch argues Pace of trade finance digitalization International Chamber of Commerce’s Global Survey shows a move to greater digitalization, and believe that this will lead to a boost in economic growth and sustainable development Blockchain, smart contracts, and information Blockchain technology potentially enlarges the contracting space using tamper-proof smart contracts. Lin William Cong and Zhiguo He consider the pros and cons of the technology Euro area reform cannot ignore the monetary realm Jérémie Cohen-Setton and Shahin Vallee write that the recent CEPR Policy Insight missed an opportunity to provide a balanced reform package A ‘what if’ approach to assessing proposals for euro area reform The policy discussion on euro area reform has entered a critical phase. George Papaconstantinou attempts a ‘what if’ experiment based on the proposals in the recent CEPR Policy Insight Beyond risk sharing and risk reduction Rafael Doménech, Miguel Otero Iglesias and Federico Steinberg argue that this risk can only be tackled with common instruments and policies at the European level, whose mere existence will reduce not only its magnitude but also its asymmetric consequences Resilience and continuity in an interconnected and changing world Lyndon Nelson considers the changes and advancements that have occurred during his 30 years in the City of London, and highlights the risks posed by cyber and other operational incidents, given the financial system’s increasing reliance on technology and data Digitalisation of money and the future of monetary policy Digitalisation can redefine the roles of banks and central banks. Peter Bofinger argues that banks could be massively challenged by new forms of intermediation Enhancing the ESM lending toolkit through a precautionary credit line Strengthening the ESM can help to prevent crises and enhance deeper financial integration in the euro area. Jochen Andritzky says mislabelling the ESM as ‘European Monetary Fund’ will not do the trick Some ways to introduce a modern debt Jubilee Charles Goodhart and Michael Hudson discuss debt overhang and the accompanying wealth inequalities, and argue that a modern Jubilee could come mostly from a land/property tax Monetary policy - end of history? Monetary policy must always react to new challenges, including whether to refine its targets or consider new tools, says Sabine Lautenschläger Are SBBS really the safe asset the euro area is looking for? Grégory Claeys argues that sound policies at the national level, combined with an ambitious reform of the eurozone architecture, would render unnecessary the provision of safe assets in the euro area via potentially hazardous SBBSs Europe’s future: the value of an institutional economics perspective To reform the European project which institutions and rules are needed and when? Nauro Campos and Jan-Egbert Sturm introduce a new eBook that makes the case that such questions are of fundamental importance for the future of Europe A glass half-full The Commission’s proposal for the next MFF provides a good basis for subsequent negotiations. But it has a number of deficiencies. Grégory Claeys and Zsolt Darvas make proposals as to how to improve them Is the global economy becoming more vulnerable to China’s debt situation? Deepanshu Mohan considers rising debt levels in China and the possibility of China exporting its debt, and asks what can be done Make euro area sovereign bonds safe again A recent CEPR Policy Insight suggests introducing sovereign bond-backed securities to play the role of safe asset in the euro area. Grégory Claeys argues that an improved euro area architecture would make all euro area sovereign bonds safer A plan to save the euro For the euro area to be stable and move forward productively substantial improvements in its operation are required, argues Jeffry Frieden Fiscal rules and the role of the Commission Thomas Wieser looks at the challenges to the central role of the Commission that have arisen as the rules-based fiscal framework in the euro area has been severely compromised Completing the Odyssean journey of the European monetary union Monetary union is at a crossroads, says Vítor Constâncio, and he expresses his views on the reforms needed to deepen and strengthen the EMU Completing Europe’s Banking Union Isabel Schnabel and Nicolas Véron ask what would be required for the Banking Union to be considered ‘complete’, and make the case for a modest approach to breaking the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns Cryptocurrencies, digital currencies, and DLT: what are we learning? Lael Brainard considers developments in digital technologies for payments, clearing, and settlement, and warns about the serious challenges that remain No deal is better than a bad deal The recent proposals for euro area reform have initiated an intensive debate. Peter Bofinger argues that the specific insolvency risk of euro area membership is the main risk that should be covered by joint risk sharing The shared response to climate change: turning momentum into action Sarah Breeden says climate change is a core financial risk for companies. It is a shared challenge for the private sector and financial authorities. And they need to take action together to respond to it Cryptocurrencies’ challenge to central banks Antonio Fatás and Beatrice Weder di Mauro argue that the risks of introducing a central bank digital currency are high, and that innovation in payment infrastuctures would be more efficient Risk reduction and risk sharing in EU fiscal policymaking Roel Beetsma and Martin Larch argue that the policy dilemma around a central fiscal capacity can only be overcome if fiscal risk sharing and risk reduction advance in parallel Past and future of the ECB monetary policy Having developed its monetary policy through four key phases, the ECB is a modern and effective central bank, says Vítor Constâncio. He adds that it is equipped to continue to deliver on the priority of price stability for euro area citizens Business priorities of global banks in 2018 The 'Global Banking Outlook 2018' is analysed by James Turner, who finds that banks need to embrace digital advances and fintech to drive opportunity Making (some) sense of cryptocurrencies Economists have been dismissive of cryptocurrencies, but fintech enthusiasts continue to see their disruptive potential. Antonio Fatás and Beatrice Weder di Mauro consider the theoretical and practical arguments on both sides of the debate Europe needs a broader discussion of its future When thinking about what will determine the prosperity and well-being of citizens living in the euro area, five issues are central. Guntram Wolff considers the CEPR Policy Insight and argues that it leaves aside some of the most crucial ones Making a reality of Europe’s Capital Markets Union André Sapir, Nicolas Véron and Guntram Wolff suggest that capital markets will only transform with concrete action, and that policymakers need to set priorities for the CMU project to move forward Moonwalking bears and underwater icebergs: hidden risks in markets Alex Brazier writes about how risks in markets can be hidden in plain sight or buried under the surface of the financial system Deepening EMU requires a coherent and well-sequenced package Marco Buti, Gabriele Giudice and José Leandro argue that the recent CEPR proposals seem unbalanced and carry significant risks, and could lead to more, not fewer, rescues Analysis of the proposal: 'A constructive approach to euro area reform' There is currently both an economic and a political window of opportunity for reform in the euro area. Andrew Watt discusses the strengths and weaknesses of recent proposals and makes recommendations for extensions and alternatives Blind spots of the 14 economists’ Policy Insight Sebastian Dullien argues that the recently published CEPR Policy Insight leaves too many questions open and fails to address a number of central problems of EMU architecture A transition in thinking and action Mark Carney takes stock of the progress made in addressing climate-related financial risks since the Paris Agreement of late 2015 The crux of disagreement on euro area reform A recent paper proposed reforms of euro area governance. Stefano Micossi considers the implications for financial stability of the eurozone The uncertain future of central bank independence The independence of central banks has again become a prominent subject in academia, politics and the media. Otmar Issing asks how this turnaround in opinion can be explained, and whether the independence of central banks will survive A compass to prosperity: the next steps of euro area economic integration The euro area should consider several areas of reforms in the coming months, including a modernized capital markets union, an improved banking union, and the creation of a central fiscal capacity, says Christine Lagarde Do wide-reaching reform programmes foster growth? Alessio Terzi and Pasquale Marco Marrazzo ask whether structural reforms have worked in the past, and consider the overall impact of reforms in the last forty years The Bank of England – open to fintech Dave Ramsden speaks about the importance of new technology in the financial services industry and the launch of the Bank of England's new Fintech Hub A time to share In the euro area, discipline is of the essence, but risk-sharing is no less important, Daniel Dăianu writes Monetary policy in the euro area Mario Draghi says that monetary policy still needs to be patient, persistent and prudent, despite improvements in the euro area economy The future of money Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin should be regulated to crack down on illegal activities and protect the financial system, Mark Carney warns Global repercussions of MiFID II Jan Hanika and Tim Sundberg look at MiFID II, how the European financial services ecosystem will be redefined, and argue that companies will need a clear and proactive strategy to deal with the challenges ahead Financial engineering will not stabilise an unstable euro area Paul De Grauwe and Yuemei Ji argue that financial engineering cannot stabilise a financial system that is fundamentally unstable How the ECB planted the seeds of the euro area crisis Athanasios Orphanides considers Europe's monetary policy and fiscal discipline, and writes that the ECB can make a positive contribution towards stabilizing the fragility of the euro area Breaking the stalemate on European Deposit Insurance EDIS is a necessary component of banking union, but no option has met sufficient consensus. Isabel Schnabel and Nicolas Véron propose an EDIS design that is institutionally integrated but financed in a way that is differentiated across countries Looking after our money Jon Cunliffe addresses the role of money in society and changes in the technologies that support it in our economy Bank bail-ins: lessons from Cyprus Panicos Demetriades examines the unintended consequences of the bail-in, which have proved more toxic than expected, and not just in Cyprus Cryptocurrencies don’t make sense Cryptocurrencies are supposedly the way of the future. Jon Danielsson finds them no better than existing fiat money or good investments Market-based finance: a macroprudential view Jon Cunliffe addresses the growth of market-based finance and the different challenges it poses to regulators as compared with banks The euro area economy is shedding the crisis legacies Increasingly fit again. There is scope for solid GDP growth above potential for some time, Marco Buti, Björn Döhring and José Leandro find Regulation within cryptocurrency markets Alex Larsen examines the different ways to regulate cryptocurrencies to ensure both protection and innovation The euro area’s three lines of defence The euro area needs reform. Benoît Cœuré argues that three lines of defence are needed to deliver a stable currency Economic crisis and structural reforms in Southern Europe: policy lessons Paolo Manasse and Dimitris Katsikas explore the economic, political, and institutional factors that differentially affected the success of these prescriptions from country to country Market finance and financial stability: will the stretch cause a strain? Alex Brazier considers the degree to which corporate credit markets have become stretched, and how well conditioned the wider economy is for that stretching Finance and investment: Europe’s lost decade Colin Mayer, Stefano Micossi, Marco Onado, Marco Pagano and Andrea Polo discuss the role of tax and regulatory policy in exacerbating the debt problems in the European Union The fall in productivity growth: causes and implications Silvana Tenreyro examines the UK productivity puzzle and reflects on what the data can tell us about future productivity growth and the direction of monetary policy Revisiting the notion of the EMF: policy and institutional issues A European Monetary Fund would help as a financing mechanism for a sovereign debt crisis and debt restructuring, Saurabh Kumar writes