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Structural Reforms in Banking: The Role of Trading

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  • Krahnen, Jan-Pieter
  • Noth, Felix
  • Schüwer, Ulrich

Abstract

In the wake of the recent financial crisis, significant regulatory actions have been taken aimed at limiting risks emanating from trading in bank business models. Prominent reform proposals are the Volcker Rule in the U.S., the Vickers Report in the UK, and, based on the Liikanen proposal, the Barnier proposal in the EU. A major element of these reforms is to separate 'classical' commercial banking activities from securities trading activities, notably from proprietary trading. While the reforms are at different stages of implementation, there is a strong ongoing discussion on what possible economic consequences are to be expected. The goal of this paper is to look at the alternative approaches of these reform proposals and to assess their likely consequences for bank business models, risk-taking and financial stability. Our conclusions can be summarized as follows: First, the focus on a prohibition of only proprietary trading, as envisaged in the current EU proposal, is inadequate. It does not necessarily reduce risk-taking and it likely crowds out desired trading activities, thereby negatively affecting financial stability. Second, there is potentially a better solution to limit excessive trading risk at banks in terms of potential welfare consequences: Trading separation into legally distinct or ring-fenced entities within the existing banking organizations. This kind of separation limits cross-subsidies between banking and proprietary trading and diminishes contagion risk, while still allowing for synergies across banking, non-proprietary trading and proprietary trading.

Suggested Citation

  • Krahnen, Jan-Pieter & Noth, Felix & Schüwer, Ulrich, 2016. "Structural Reforms in Banking: The Role of Trading," IWH Discussion Papers 9/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:iwh-9-16
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles W. Calomiris & Urooj Khan, 2015. "An Assessment of TARP Assistance to Financial Institutions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 53-80, Spring.
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    3. Krahnen, Jan Pieter, 2013. "Rescue by regulation? Key points of the Liikanen report," SAFE White Paper Series 9, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
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    5. Sam Langfield & Marco Pagano, 2016. "Bank bias in Europe: effects on systemic risk and growth," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(85), pages 51-106.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kurz, Michael & Kleimeier, Stefanie, 2019. "Credit Supply: Are there negative spillovers from banks’ proprietary trading? (RM/19/005-revised-)," Research Memorandum 026, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    2. Michael Kurz & Stefanie Kleimeier, 2019. "Credit Supply: Are there negative spillovers from banks' proprietary trading?," DNB Working Papers 657, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Götz, Martin & Krahnen, Jan Pieter & Tröger, Tobias, 2017. "Five years after the Liikanen Report: What have we learned?," SAFE White Paper Series 50, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    4. Krause, Thomas & Sondershaus, Talina & Tonzer, Lena, 2016. "The Role of Complexity for Bank Risk during the Financial Crisis: Evidence from a Novel Dataset," IWH Discussion Papers 17/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    banking; structural reforms; prohibition of proprietary trading; banking separation;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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