x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Book review: Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig expose myth of bank invulnerability

In The Bankers' New Clothes , Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig examine what is wrong with the banking industry today and the failure of government to take corrective measures.

The Bankers’ New Clothes
Anat Admati & Martin Hellwig
Princeton University Press

With the title alluding to a popular children's story, Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig strive to shatter many a popular illusion related to the world of financial regulations in their exploration of what exactly is wrong with banking today. This in turn leads to more unsettling concerns regarding the lack of remedial action taken in the face of these issues.

The answer appears to lie in the carefully constructed myth of the invulnerability of the banking world and its institutions, an image built to deflect even the most well-founded critique. Similar to the emperor's loyal subjects in Hans Christian Andersen's famous tale of pride and narcissism, the public does not take easily to rebuking long-established financial practices for fear of their own intellect being called into question. Not only do Admati and Hellwig take a stand to refute this wall of passivity, but also make a well-researched case of why it should be torn down once and for all.

Offering a unique insight into banking from both an insider's and layman's perspectives, The Bankers' New Clothes is a welcome source of information in these unstable times.

* Noori Passela