July 31, 2011
A Market Cure for Too-Big-to-Fail?
Over at DealBook, Jesse Eisinger writes:
One of the most remarkable aspects of the debate about overhauling the financial system after the great crisis was the absence of serious contemplation of breaking up the largest banks…. Lawmakers and regulators have failed to remake our system with smaller, safer institutions. What about investors? Big bank stocks have been persistently weak, making breakups that seemed politically impossible no longer unthinkable…. [However, e]ven in the face of investor pressure, there are forces that would hold bank breakups back. Mainly pay. “The biggest motivation for not breaking up is that top managers would earn less,” Mr. [Mike Mayo, an analyst with CLSA] said. “That is part of the breakdown in the owner/manager relationship. That’s a breakdown in capitalism.” Institutional investors — the major owners of the banks — are passive and conflicted. They don’t like to go public with complaints. They have extensive business ties with the banks. The few hedge fund activist investors who aren’t cowed would most likely balk at taking on such an enormous target.
You can read the full post here.