Sunday Readings

EU Can Learn From US Experience With Centralized Financial Supervision
In response to the 2009 financial crisis, the European Union has agreed to establish the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), a centralized supervisory body designed to achieve financial stability, financial integration and to maintain national financial policies in an integrated financial market.

The European Central Bank will have direct oversight of the EU’s largest lenders and the right to intervene in smaller institutions at the first sign of trouble. Full implementation is planned for March 2014.

While the final details have yet to be formalized, Europeans might be wise to examine the history in the US of managing a “dual-system” of bank supervision. María J. Nieto, a senior advisor with Banco de España, and Rugers University economist Eugene N. White believe there are some lessons, which they have outlined in an article on the website Vox.

The US model shares two important similarities with the EU model – a dual supervision of financial intermediaries at multiple levels; and the creation of multiple functional agencies to supervise banking, securities markets, and insurance.

In the US, there has been a long evolution beginning with the establishment of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 1864 following the Civil War to the formation in 1913 of the Federal Reserve and the post-New Deal reforms, which spawned numerous regulatory agencies.

According to White and Nieto, there are also important differences – in the US, “the intention was to foster the growth of safer banking institutions, in an era of minimal regulation, while in the EU the purpose has been to better control the safety net subsidies.”

Concerns Over Syrian Weapons Contributed To Israeli Apology
Suprise seemed to be the universal response when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered an apology to Turkey for the deadly raid on a Turkish flotilla. In reality the decision was prompted more by shifting alliances than anything else, according to The Washington Post.

The Post notes that Netanyahu took to Facebook to explain why the decision was made. “The fact that the crisis in Syria intensifies from moment to moment was the main consideration in my view,” Netanyahu wrote.

Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy magazine offers additional insight into the decision.

More Education Does Not Necessarily Yield Benefits For Women
Garance Franke-Ruta writes in The Atlantic that while women have eclipsed men as a percentage of college students and now comprise the majority of master’s-degree students and doctoral candidates, they have been unable to translate that education into leadership roles in the business world.

“One reason is that they take fewer risks right out of the gate: they are much less likely to negotiate their first salary—57 percent of men do this, versus 7 percent of women. Compared with their male peers, women also set less ambitious goals. A McKinsey study published last April found that 36 percent of male employees at major companies hope to be top executives, compared with just 18 percent of female employees,” she writes.

Just How Bad Is The US Postal System?
Pretty bad. After evaluating 24 government-operated postal organizations and two private companies a report released by Accenture found that USPS has failed to adapt to declining mail volume by innovating new products and offering new services with flexible pricing.

That is one reason the USPS lost nearly $16 billion last year and remains “burdened by legacy costs high performing agencies in other countries have shed, such as pension burdens and the “restrictive” universal service obligation.”


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