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risk and liability January 26, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : risk , comments closed

According to the World Economic Forum’s Risks Interconnection Map, there is a risk that US style liability rules will spread to other parts of the world and this:

reduces personal accountability and loss sharing, and global insurance capacity, undermining investment and growth.

Funny, I thought liability was all about accountability. But the statement refers to “personal” accountability. Perhaps in this context corporations aren’t people.

2011 January 25, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : eu , comments closed

Will be the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship:

The potential of voluntary activities is still not fully realised. A European Year of voluntary activities promoting active citizenship will provide the opportunity to demonstrate in a European context that voluntary activities increase civic participation and can help foster a sense of belonging and commitment of citizens to their society at all levels – local, regional, national and European.

Why wait?

um and haiti January 23, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : um , comments closed

This week there are some very real reasons to be proud to be associated with UM, described in Donna Shalala’s most recent letter to the community about UM’s efforts to help with the recent tragedy in Haiti. For example:

Led by Dr. Barth Green, chair and professor of neurological surgery, our immediate response efforts have focused on our team of Miller School of Medicine experts who arrived in Haiti less than 24 hours after the quake hit. Physicians and nurses from the University and Jackson Memorial Medical Center were some of the first responders to begin treating hundreds of earthquake victims. Since January 13, more than 100 UM doctors, nurses, and other personnel have traveled to Haiti. Working with limited supplies and in crude facilities, they have fought against the clock to save lives, provide compassionate care, and ease suffering.

action on bank bonuses January 20, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation , comments closed

John Harris has a better way of showing disapproval of the fact that UK taxpayers are subsidising bank bonuses than Billy Bragg (at least his solution is legal):

If you have money in a bank whose pay structures strike you as iniquitous, put it somewhere else. As an RBS customer about to jump ship, my own choice is the Co-operative Bank, freshly merged with the Britannia Building Society. Their executives are hardly paupers … but their pay policy falls short of arrogant insanity — and as proof of their bona fides as both progressives and prudent operators, they make a lot of their ethical investment policy and proud avoidance of the financial instruments that got most other banks into such a mess.

reorganization of lobbying efforts January 18, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : lobbying , comments closed

The American Securitization Forum announced the other day that it was going to separate its lobbying efforts from those of SIFMA to focus more effectively on lobbying on securitization:

we .. look forward to serving, in an even more focused fashion, all securitization market participants. Our membership includes financial intermediaries, issuers, investors, servicers, law firms, accounting firms and other transaction parties. We believe that operating as a completely independent organization will allow us to do an even better job of helping to restart our markets and getting affordable credit flowing again to American consumers and businesses. As the only organization solely focused on the broad securitization markets, and with membership in every part of the markets, the ASF is uniquely positioned to craft and advocate consensus market positions.

passing the buck (while keeping tight hold of the bucks) January 13, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation , comments closed

Reading reports of today’s hearings at the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission I am a bit perplexed by the suggestions that part of the problem was that regulators failed to keep up with new sophisticated financial products. This from members of an industry that dedicated enormous effort and money over many years to promoting the idea that governmental regulation shouldn’t interfere too much with market activity, and in particular that it should not stifle useful innovation. And, moreover, that it should be the market which would determine whether innovations were useful or not, rather than regulators. Now, it is pretty inevitable that businesses will put effort into lobbying (I started today looking at a fascinating study of how the tobacco industry worked to influence the incorporation of mandatory impact assessment (of a type that would weight economic interests heavily) into EU policy-making) but there’s something rather dishonest for people who have successfully lobbied for limited regulation to then turn round and blame everyone else for not regulating them enough.

a new reason to worry about credit ratings January 12, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : consultation , comments closed

The UK Treasury, facing a lack of bank lending to UK corporates is trying to figure out how to encourage non-bank lending in a Discussion Paper published today. There’s less non-bank lending to UK corporates than to US corporates, and the paper suggests this may be linked to lower levels of rated corporates in the UK than in the US:

In seeking finance from non-bank channels, in particular the corporate bond market, a public credit rating may increase investor awareness and serve to reduce overall financing costs and risks to investors and businesses. Compared with the US, a significantly smaller proportion of UK companies are rated.

The Discussion Paper asks for data in a number of areas, including reasons why UK corporates don’t seek public credit ratings, and whether requiring more disclosure (corporate transparency) generally or with respect to loan covenants would be a good idea.

weeks and years January 11, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : life , comments closed

As classes start up again at the law school, I notice that it is National Influenza Vaccination Week. I had my H1N1 shot already so can’t participate.

Meanwhile, the EU is dedicating a whole year to combating poverty and social exclusion, and for this year the European capitals of culture are Essen in Germany, Pécs in Hungary and Istanbul in Turkey. I’m not quite sure why the EU is recognizing Istanbul (beautiful and culturally significant as it is) as a European capital of culture given that Turkey isn’t yet a member ….