Saturday, August 20, 2005

Payments and Settlements News 24

P&S News is out now. This edition has generally got an academic flavour.
Yet, quite interesting is the ESCB view on the EU-Green Paper on financial Services.

Read the following pieces:
In this regard, the Eurosystem agrees that asset management and retail financial services are areas where regulatory intervention at the EU level could be considered. With regard to asset management, the issue as to whether or not a specific regulatory treatment of hedge funds is needed deserves attention. As far as retail financial services are concerned, the Eurosystem recognises that a combination of targeted regulatory actions and a more active application of competition policy could be the way forward. In particular, issues related to bank accounts deserve careful attention as they are the starting-point for the distribution of banking and financial services.


The Eurosystem agrees with the key policy orientation of the Green Paper which focuses on: (i) the consolidation and consistent implementation of the existing legislative framework for financial services to be achieved by exploiting the potential of the existing institutional set-up; and (ii) a better ex-ante and expost
assessment of new legislative initiatives.

What's so interesting about these bits is that the ESCB points out the retail financial services as an area for intervention. At the same time the ESCB subscribes to evidence-based policy making as proposed by the Commission (better regulation). IMHO those two don't really go together, as the ESCB completely fails to provide the argument/evidence for the first statement.

My guess is that the ESCB's self interest is making them want to have a bigger say in the retail financial services domain? Which is a strategy that can only work if you proclaim those services/market as an area that requires intervention. And so we find a completely unbacked (evidence-less) statement on required market intervention in a paper that states that the only way forward for regulators is better ex-ante and expost assessment of new legislative initiatives.

It appears to me that is high time that the ESCB itself prepares evidence-based impact assessments for its own policies.....