Book Review: Rupal Patel and Jack Meaning, ‘Can’t we just print more money – Economics in ten simple questions’, Cornerstone Press, London, May 2022.
The Bank of England is the first central bank to carry out the set of functions which are today associated with a central bank. It is not the oldest, an honour which goes to the Riksbank established in 1668. After its establishment in 1694 as an issuer of currency and as a government bank, the Bank of England started adding functions over the years. It was only in the second half of the 19th century, when it became a lender of last resort, that the Bank of England came to be acknowledged and regarded as a central bank. Continue reading “Can’t we just print more money?”
This post is a twin of my last one on Teaching Ethics in Management and Accounting because they originated in my reading of two related articles on fraud by Seb Murray (Financial Times, 13 June 2022). As the post became too unwieldy, I decided that it made better sense to split it into two.
This post also takes off from a passing reference to Donald Cressey in another recent post on Strategic Risk in Banking. Another post on Fraud, Terrorism, and Bathtub, had mentioned how those who want to commit fraud learn the loopholes over a period of time. Those loopholes provide the opportunity for fraud as discussed below. The discerning reader may also find in this post a resonance of the determining factors mentioned in yet another post on Why People Wore Masks. While wearing a mask is an act of compliance with a regulation, committing a crime is deviant behaviour, essentially constituting noncompliance with socially and culturally accepted norms, and/or in defiance of legal or regulatory sanctions. Continue reading “Why people commit fraud”
The importance of teaching ethics in management and accounting in the context of persisting cases of corporate misdemeanour and falling accounting standards.
In 2001, at an Enron press briefing announcing their financials, Richard Grubman, a Wall Street analyst, asked Jeffrey Skilling, the CEO, why Enron had not come out with a balance sheet. Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind described the exchange between them as follows: Continue reading “Teaching Ethics in Management and Accounting”
This post is the second part of my earlier post on reputation risk. It is an enlarged version of the portion on strategic risk from my speaking notes used for a talk on reputation and strategic risk to the members of the Board of Directors of a bank based outside India. Needless to say, this is an introductory piece, as strategy, its risks, and their management, together constitute a huge subject in itself.
This is an edited and updated version of my speaking notes used for an address on managing strategic and reputation risk to the members of the Board of Directors of a bank based outside India. I will cover strategic risk in a future post. The talk drew substantially from the writings of Prof. Charles R. Fombrun, especially his book on Reputation, apart from other references as indicated.Continue reading “Managing reputation risk”
Lessons from reliability and bathtub curve for busting crimes
Frauds and terrorism
Formidable military cantonments with awe-inspiring security have existed for centuries. Treasure, including notes and coins, have also moved for centuries. Banks have time-honoured systems and processes for internal control and audit.
Nevertheless, we hear of security breaches in military establishments. The choice of time, location, and other details point to a high level of planning. Daring and well-planned train robberies involving sovereign treasure make some Western flicks seem like minor pickpocketing. Bank frauds the size of several Satyam frauds point to governance failures from top to bottom. Investigations followed, and responsibility fixed. The immediate causes were familiar. System failures, noncompliance with laid down procedures, and ignoring established norms. One rarely identified root causes to see why noncompliance took place. And what actions could prevent them in the future. Continue reading “Frauds, terrorism, and bathtub curve”
A critical look at IMF recommendations on financial stability concerns from Fintechand DeFi
Fintech and financial stability
Fintech is technological innovation in financial activities, or in other words, financial innovation aided by technology. This by itself is not new. The ATMs which made their entry in the late 1960s was also in this sense, fintech. With the rapid growth in crypto assets in recent years, and that of decentralised ledger technology (DLT), fintech has evolved and grown rapidly in recent years to provide traditional banking functions, including deposit taking and lending. Referred to as Decentralized Finance, or DeFi for short, it threatens to disintermediate banks from savers and borrowers, transform the traditional banking landscape, and threaten financial stability. The IMF flagged its concerns in the third chapter of the April 2022 issue of its biannual Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR). Continue reading “Fintech and Financial Stability”
An overview of research findings explaining mask compliance across countries
According to Francis Fukuyama, leading political thinker, institutional arrangements, including increasing judicialisation and influence of interest groups, constrict decision making in democracies. These along with legally mandated checks and balances can slow decision making in crises. Fukuyama was writing in the US context (The Origins of Political Order, 2011; Political Order and Political Decay, 2014). But, India too is no exception. This perhaps explains the need for seemingly autocratic decisions. Whatever be the method, public view and experience of governmental decisions, through law or regulation, are manifested in compliance. Continue reading “Why People Wore Masks”
The growth of cryptocurrencies in the last decade has forced many central banks across the world to consider issuing their own version, called Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). There have been several studies, official and private, that examine the pros and cons of introducing CBDC. Eswar Prasad in his new book provides a comprehensive look at the entire gamut of issues relating to CBDC.
How Bank of Russia and Russian Central Banking is coping with war and other political expediencies
War and Peace
War and Peace, Tolstoy’s enduring masterpiece, starts with a party scene. Set in the St Petersburg of 1805, the main characters are introduced here. Most of us would have read the ‘novel’ (Tolstoy did not call it one) in English. Lost in translation is the fact that almost the entire conversation, page after page, is in French. It was the preferred language of the Russian aristocracy. For Tolstoy, it was a literary device. He was making fun of the nobles of the day who spoke French to flaunt their exclusivity. He wanted to show how disconnected they were from core Russian values and the world around. Continue reading “Bank of Russia in War and Peace”