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Palgrave Macmillan

Safe to Fail

How Resolution Will Revolutionise Banking

ISBN 9781137383648
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The recent financial crisis has changed the face of banking. The days of taxpayer bailouts are over and we now need a new way ahead – to make banks safe to fail.

Academically rigorous but written in an accessible and engaging style, Thomas Huertas' new book is a practical guide to making banks safe to fail. It provides an overview of the global financial system today, with a particular focus on the role of systemically important financial institutions (G-SIFIs) and financial market infrastructures in fostering economic growth and development, before moving on to outline why too big to fail is too costly to continue, how to make banks less likely to fail, and then in the event of failure, how to make banks resolvable, without cost to the taxpayer and the financial markets and global economy as a whole. It includes a thorough discussion of the strategic implications for banks and what banks have to do to meet the challenges currently facing them, and provides a comprehensive review and evaluation of reform agenda, including the impact on banks' business models and on economic growth.

It may not be possible to make banks failsafe, but there is every opportunity to make them safe to fail, so that they can be resolved without cost to the taxpayer and without significant disruption to financial markets and the economy at large.

Thomas F. Huertas is Partner in the Financial Services Risk Practice at Ernst & Young, where he advises major financial institutions on risk, regulatory and strategic issues. He was formerly Alternate Chair of the European Banking Authority, a member of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and a Member of the Executive Committee at the UK FSA. Prior to joining the FSA, Dr. Huertas held a number of senior positions at a major global bank in North America and Europe. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Law and Finance at the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University in Frankfurt and a member of the Financial Markets Group at the London School of Economics. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago. He has written extensively on banking issues, including his book, Crisis: Cause, Containment and Cure published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Introduction: Resolvability Will Determine the Future of Banking
1. Too Big to Fail is Too Costly to Continue
2. Less Likely to Fail: Strengthening Regulation
3. Less Likely to Fail: Sharpening Supervision
4. Safe to Fail
5. Setting up for Success
Conclusion: Is Basel Best?


'Thomas Huertas' book provides an interesting and timely account by a regulatory expert of all the reforms that are being enacted for a safer resolution of systemically important financial institutions. A must read for every supervisor, regulator, financial policymaker and member of a bank's Board of Directors or Executive Committee.' - Axel Weber, Chairman, UBS
'Safe to Fail: How Resolution will Revolutionise Banking is a worthy successor to Huertas's excellent book Crisis: Cause, Containment and Cure. Huertas is a rigorously-trained economist, former banker and strategic planner who acted as a key regulator during the crisis. He is therefore uniquely qualified to analyse the future of banking in the post-crisis world. Beginning from the observation that too big to fail is too costly to continue he argues the way forward depends on making banks safe to fail. This innovative approach offers substantial potential advantages to banks, regulators and, most importantly, the general public. Although his analysis is rigorous, Huertas writes with remarkable lucidity. Moreover, his talent for aphorisms makes the book a pleasure to read and accessible to anyone who wants to understand the critical choices that will determine the future of banking.' - Richard J. Herring, Jacob Safra Professor of International Banking, The Wharton School
'Public policy in this area is of great significance for the robustness and stability of the global financial system. It needs to be understood and to inspire confidence in governments, politicians, regulators and, of course, banks themselves. But the issues to be tackled in reaching the desirable end-state are protean in their complexity. This book provides an authoritative and very clear summary guide which deserves to be, and is likely to become, the definitive reference handbook. I commend it most warmly.'- Sir David Walker, Chairman, Barclays
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