Weil on Finance: Messing With Volcker Rule
Happy Hump Day. Here’s what I’ve been reading this morning.
Will Congress ever stop tinkering with the Volcker Rule?
Floyd Norris had a scoop about plans by the head of the House Financial Services Committee to introduce a bill so that Zions Bancorp and other banks holding certain types of collateralized debt obligations wouldn’t have to sell them under the Volcker Rule, which would mean they could keep losses from these CDOs out of their earnings for accounting purposes.
Europe’s stress tests and capital rules spur asset sales by banks.
There’s a common thread between this story by Alastair Marsh of Bloomberg News and the previous one: Banks often are selling stuff because new regulations say they have to, not because they want to. Surely there must be money to be made somewhere in buying up distressed assets that banks aren’t allowed to hold anymore.
Why chasing yield never ends well, whether in stocks or bonds.
Joshua Brown at Reformed Broker explains. “It’s only ever a question of who’s left holding the bag at the inflection point,” he says.
If Scotland secedes from the U.K., whose currency will it use?
Brigitte Granville, a University of London economics professor, has a good piece spelling out Scotland’s options. Here’s a related question I’ve been wondering about: If Scotland gains independence, who will rescue Royal Bank of Scotland the next time it needs a massive bailout? Scotland couldn’t have afforded to do it last time by itself. It needed the U.K.’s money.
This story about coffee shops in Japan is a real hoot.
There is this thing they have in Japan called owl cafes, which double as petting zoos. So customers not only get coffee, they also get the chance to hold live owls. Why? Very weird.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)