“Capital allocated to market-making by bank-affiliated dealers has not kept pace with the very rapid growth of marketable Treasury debt outstanding,” the group’s report found. That, in turn, is due in part to leverage requirements that discourage banks from allocating capital to market making, the report said.
The group’s recommendations included:
Creation of a standing repo facility by the Fed, with terms that “discourage use of the facility in normal market conditions without stigmatizing its use under stress”
All trades of Treasury securities executed on electronic inter-dealer trading platforms that offer anonymous trading should be centrally cleared
Treasury repos should be centrally cleared
The Treasury Department should lead a review of the design and operation of the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation, the only central clearinghouse for Treasuries
Banking regulators should review rules with a view to modifying those that discourage market intermediation
The TRACE reporting system should be expanded to capture all transactions in Treasury securities and Treasury repos
The Treasury should lead an inter-agency study to re-examine all exemptions of Treasury securities from U.S. securities laws, and prepare annual reports on Treasury market functioning
Geithner served as chair of the working group. The project director was Patrick Parkinson, a former Fed official who’s now at the Bank Policy Institute. Parkinson co-wrote a paper last year with Nellie Liang, now the Treasury undersecretary of domestic finance, on enhancing liquidity in Treasuries. Panel members included former heads of the central banks of the U.K., Japan, Germany, Brazil and Mexico along with other ex-senior Fed officials.
It is amazing how policy tends to move in cycles. After the credit crisis, the consensus conclusion was that bank balance sheets were too large. Regulators were worried that trading off the back of deposits and high leverage ratios posed systemic risks. The partial fix was to separate trading from banking operations. The result was that banks had to reduce leverage and a lot of market making moved to private operations like Citadel.Click HERE to subscribe to Fuller Treacy Money Back to top