Banking can learn from insurance on systemic risk

0ca3a49e-f02b-4ea7-8a10-0039e5789a30Insurers are shrinking their balance sheets and divesting business to escape systemically important status, and so should banks, argues Patrick Jenkins in the FT.

“When Italy’s Generali managed to get itself off the global list of systemically important insurance companies in November, there were cheers in Trieste.

Removal from the nine-strong list of insurers, deemed systemically important financial institutions (Sifis), meant a huge administrative problem evaporated. So did the prospect of tougher Sifi capital requirements from 2019. Generali’s secret had been to shrink and simplify its business. First it sold its US life reinsurance business to France’s Scor. Then it sold Swiss private bank BSI to Brazil’s now troubled BTG Pactual.

The moves convinced regulators at the Financial Stability Board that Generali was no longer a global Sifi (replacing it with another European insurer, Aegon).
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