Corporate Governance and Prudential Regulation of Banks: Is There Any Connection?

RESEARCH HANDBOOK FOR BANKING AND GOVERNANCE, James R. Barth, Chen Lin, Clas Whilborg, eds., 2011

28 Pages Posted: 10 May 2011

See all articles by Lawrence J. White

Lawrence J. White

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics

Date Written: May 9, 2011

Abstract

One “narrative” of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 is that poor corporate governance at financial institutions was a major cause of the crisis. An immediate implication of this narrative is that better corporate governance – a better alignment of the interests of senior management with the interests of their shareholders – would have prevented (or at least ameliorated) the crisis. This chapter argues that this corporate governance narrative is largely misguided and reflects an inadequate understanding of modern finance and financial theory. Because of the protections of limited liability, it is in the interests of diversified shareholders of a corporation (including financial institutions) to encourage senior managers to undertake greater risks than is in the interests of the corporation’s creditors (or of regulators who may represent depositor creditors or the interests of society more generally). Consequently, public policy should look to improved prudential regulation, rather than improved corporate governance, for restraining the excessively risky activities of systemically important financial institutions.

Keywords: Corporate Governance, Limited Liability, Prudential Regulation, Capital

JEL Classification: G21, G28, G34

Suggested Citation

White, Lawrence J., Corporate Governance and Prudential Regulation of Banks: Is There Any Connection? (May 9, 2011). RESEARCH HANDBOOK FOR BANKING AND GOVERNANCE, James R. Barth, Chen Lin, Clas Whilborg, eds., 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1836716

Lawrence J. White (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

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