Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

IREF Europe - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

Fiscal competition
and economic freedom


Gordon Kerr, John Butler, with Enrico Colombatto

Articles by this author (21) :

European Safe Bonds – Can Europe’s problems be Saved by Clever Financial Engineering?

Electoral victories for Mark Rutte of the Netherlands in March, followed by Emanuel Macron’s presidential ascent in France in May and his landslide Parliamentary victory in June, have encouraged the view that closer integration of Europe’s banking and financial system is quite likely. The (...)

By Bailing out unimportant banks Italy has undermined Banking Union

The contrast between the actions of the Spanish and Italian governments in the past two months could hardly be more marked. As we reported in June, the Madrid government allowed the relevant European authority – the Single Resolution Board – to apply the bail-in rules to failed Banco Popular. (...)

Large Spanish Bank Failures Raise Investor Fears over Bail-Ins; whilst Pressure Grows in Italy over Monte Dei Paschi

Bail-ins Expected after Banco Popular fails in Spain. Chewing gum accounting
Just as elections of political leaders have become difficult to predict, it is becoming harder to guess which of Europe’s beleaguered banks will be bailed out and rescued, or allowed to fail thus exposing creditors (...)

Banks in the US as well as Europe Push Back Against New Rules

Given the effort being invested into the banking turnaround story by the European authorities, and in particular the European Banking Authority, and the cohesive international supervisory effort being spearheaded by Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis which we reported in March, you would have (...)

Liborgate Re-Rears Its Ugly Head

Last month, we reported on compliance failures at very senior levels of the Bank of England, resulting in the resignation of Charlotte Hogg. There was another scandal, also involving the Bank of England and Barclays Bank, which was breaking just as we were going to press. We decided to defer (...)

Accommodative Monetary Policy is Encroaching on Fiscal Policy

We believe that the ECB is presently using monetary policy in effect to conduct fiscal, as well as monetary policy. Elected politicians should be up in arms; that they are not would imply either that they do not understand this or that they simply accept it. This may provide an interesting (...)

Compliance Meltdown at the Bank of England

The Bank of England is the focus of two separate news items. Firstly, the BBC has apparently uncovered a videotape evidencing that the Bank strongly pressured commercial banks to falsify Libor submissions in 2008. If true, this contradicts denials we reported in 2012 when such allegations (...)

Unicredit’s Rights Issue – the figures don’t add up

Unicredit’s well-publicised rights issue was reported by the press as a resounding success. Underwritten by Morgan Stanley and UBS, the €13bn issue, priced at a 38% discount to the bank’s theoretical value before the rights, closed early. Some big Italian investors publicly declared their (...)

Supervision cannot save insolvent banks

Regulators Provide Misleading Reassurances as to Bank Solvency
February 10th was the fourth anniversary of David Cameron’s “Bloomberg Speech” in which he promised an ‘in or out’ EU membership referendum if re-elected in 2015. This year, the EU’s Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial (...)

Stress Tests don’t work

Criticisms of bank stress tests continue to mount, particularly as banks continue to struggle. A new problem recently emerged: the marked shortfall between the market capitalisation of most European banks and their book values.
This should soon lead to a new stress test methodology. This (...)

Inflation To Rise – We expect UK, ECB and US Policy to Diverge

Purely for geopolitical reasons, namely frustration at the failure of the governments of individual member states to respond to repeated calls for “structural reforms”, your authors had taken the view in recent months that the ECB might increase interest rates this year.
Our views are (...)

January’17 Financial and Banking Features Newsletter

Central Banks Pray for Electoral “Shocks”. Forced to Nationalise Monte dei Paschi, Italy Looks in Trouble, but Cleverly Plays its Sicilian Defence.
Central Banking
How will Central Banks cope with 2017 shocks? Perhaps new rules, one-off solutions, doubtless lots more QE. Populism will (...)

December’16 Financial and Banking Features Newsletter

The Eventual Impact of Rising Bond Yields. Further Cracks Appearing in the ‘Global Consensus’ of Bank Supervision.
Central Banking
Global Bond Market Yields are Rising
The ECB’s recently announced 6 month extension of its QE programme reminds us that the speed at which the programme will (...)

November’16 Financial and Banking Features Newsletter

The European Banking Can Nears the End of the Road
“The key thing to know about Lehman Brothers is that it did not cause the financial crisis, it revealed the financial crisis”
Central Banking
The Credibility of Central Banks is Irreparably Damaged. Critics of Policy Grow as More (...)

September’16 Financial and Banking Features Newsletter

The absence of structural reforms brings the effectiveness of ECB policy increasingly into question. The Financial Stability Board claims that banking reform is largely complete. Despite a quiet summer, there is plenty of evidence that it (...)

July’16 Financial and Banking Features Newsletter

Post Brexit, Sterling weakens. Brexit will retest Central Banks’ Firepower. Will Scotland’s Resurgent Independence Campaign Want to Keep the Pound?
The reaction of financial markets to the Brexit vote was well covered by the press. After initial sharp falls, stock markets throughout the (...)

June’16 Financial and Banking Features Newsletter

Central Banking
Brexit Fervour Underscores the Weakness of Economic Forecasting.
Increasingly Outlandish Economic Arguments on Both Sides of the Brexit Debate. The Bank of England’s intervention is questionable.
As apolitical neutral observers, your authors seek to draw attention to (...)

May’16 Financial & Banking Features Newsletter

Central Banking – Embracing the Blockchain
In a recent speech, Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent opined that the key innovation underlying Bitcoin is not the unit of account itself but blockchain – the digital settlement ledger in which all transactions are recorded chronologically (...)

April’16 Financial & Banking Features Newsletter
Some technical points on accounting concerns and potential ECB support of insolvent banks

Central Banking
The European Commission accepts that EU law requires accounts to provide a “true and fair view” of assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss as specific indicators of financial health of companies, including banks. That is something that that IFRS accounting (...)

March’16 Financial & Banking Features Newsletter
“Still Talking to a Brick Wall” (OECD’s William White on central banks response to cautionary advice).

Central Banking
Bank share prices recover after further falls early February. However, credibility of ECB increasingly questioned as it considers further expansionary policies.
Fears of a renewed banking crisis, which had seemed a possibility in January, abated in February. By March (...)

February’16 Financial & Banking Features Newsletter

Jittery January Markets - Does the ECB have Contingency Plans? The ECB must be aware that investors’ confidence in stock markets, particularly bank shares, dropped in January. If contingency plans exist, they are likely to fall short of purchasing non-performing loans.
The media consensus in (...)

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