Shaping the topology of the financial network
Thursday, 16 February, 2012 1 Comment
The analytic model outlined earlier demonstrates that the topology of the financial sector’s balance sheet has fundamental implications for the state and dynamics of systemic risk. From a public policy perspective, two topological features are key.
First, diversity across the financial system. In the run-up to the crisis, and in the pursuit of diversification, banks’ balance sheets and risk management systems became increasingly homogenous. For example, banks became increasingly reliant on wholesale funding on the liabilities side of the balance sheet; in structured credit on the assets side of their balance sheet; and managed the resulting risks using the same value-at-risk models. This desire for diversification was individually rational from a risk perspective. But it came at the expense of lower diversity across the system as whole, thereby increasing systemic risk. Homogeneity bred fragility…
Assuming (dear reader) that you have some interest in the topic(s) this is a very interesting piece. It can be found/downloaded here.
Andy Haldane (Director at Bank of England), Mervyn King and Lord May have been on this “tack” for at least 2 years – I have come speeches, papers or presentations on the subject if anyone is interested – and I have referred to their views in various blog articles over that period.
However, I did want to share this section from the conclusion. Because, these gents have recognised that there is a great deal that we can learn, about, both, cause and solution, from Nature. However, as they point out, due to the Political processes that will, inevitably, affect Bank of England, it is unlikely that solutions…
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