A Simpler Approach to Financial Reform
This article proposes a unified regulatory approach to the issuance of “money-claims” – a generic term that refers to fixed-principal, very short-term IOUs, excluding trade credit. The instability of this market is arguably the central problem for financial regulatory policy. Yet our existing regulatory system lacks a coherent approach to this market. The article proposes a public-private partnership (PPP) regime, under which only licensed entities would be permitted to issue money-claims (subject to de minimis exceptions). Licensed money-claim issuers would be required to abide by portfolio restrictions and capital requirements. In addition, the government would explicitly insure licensed issuers’ outstanding money-claims in return for a fee. The article compares this PPP regime to the prevailing alternatives. In particular, it considers the likely efficacy of (i) risk-constraint regulation; (ii) conditional liquidity support (lender of last resort) facilities; and (iii) the new Orderly Liquidation Authority, a centerpiece of the recently enacted Dodd-Frank Act. The article identifies significant problems with each of these approaches. It concludes that, although the PPP system raises significant implementation challenges of its own, it compares favorably to the available alternatives.