Ending Too Big to Fail | The Big Picture

From an address by William C. Dudley, President of the NY Fed, to the Global Economic Policy Forum, November 8, 2013:

There is evidence of deep-seated cultural and ethical failures at many large financial institutions. Whether this is due to size and complexity, bad incentives or some other issues is difficult to judge, but it is another critical problem that needs to be addressed. Tough enforcement and high penalties will certainly help focus management’s attention on this issue. But I am also hopeful that ending too big to fail and shifting the emphasis to longer-term sustainability will encourage the needed cultural shift necessary to restore public trust in the industry.

Dudley calls for increased capital requirements to reduce the risk of failure as well as more robust procedures to reduce the impact of a single large failure:

The major initiative here is the single point of entry framework for resolution proposed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Under this framework, if a financial firm is to be resolved under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act, the FDIC will place the top tier bank holding company into receivership and its assets will be transferred to a bridge holding company. The equity holders will be wiped out and sufficient long-term unsecured debt will be converted into equity in the new bridge company to cover any remaining losses and to ensure that the new entity is well capitalized and deemed creditworthy. Subsidiaries would continue to operate, which should limit the incentives for customers to run. By assigning losses to shareholders and unsecured creditors of the holding company and transferring sound operating subsidiaries to a new solvent entity, such a “top-down” resolution strategy should ensure continuity with respect to any critical services performed by the firm’s subsidiaries and this should help limit the magnitude of any negative externalities.

Read more at Ending Too Big to Fail | The Big Picture.