Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Roubini wants to go back to Glass-Steagall

Roubini: The Volcker Rule goes in the right direction, but in my view, the model of the financial supermarket where within one institution you have commercial banking, investment banking, underwriting of securities, market-making and dealing, proprietary trading, hedge fund activity, private equity activity, asset management, insurance—this model has been a disaster. The institution becomes too big to fail and too big to manage.

It also creates massive conflicts of interest. If you look at the cases against Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, leaving aside whether there was any fraud or illegal activity—that's for a court to decide—there is still a fundamental conflict of interest. These institutions are always on every side of every deal. That's an inherent conflict of interest that cannot be addressed with Chinese walls [internal company barriers between different aspects of its business].

There are no benefits from these economies of scale and scope, as we've seen from the disasters at Citigroup, AIG and others. And there are massive conflicts of interest. So I would separate all of these financial businesses under separate institutions, and I would go back to the kind of restrictions that we had under Glass-Steagall.

Nouriel Roubini is an American professor of Economics at New York University`s Stern School of Business and chairman of RGE Roubini Global Economics
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