Après l’âge d’or de la Finance

LONDRES – Même après le vote des nouvelles règlementations financières aux Etats-Unis avec la Loi Dodd-Frank et la publication des nouvelles obligations relatives au capital des banques émises par le Comité de Bâle, les perspectives du secteur financier pour les prochaines années demeurent relativement incertaines. Il y a eu une certaine reprise des prix des participations bancaires par rapport aux faibles chiffres de 2008, bien sur, mais cette tendance a récemment mollie. En marge de leurs inquiétudes au sujet de la vigueur du rebond économique, les investisseurs ont des doutes quant aux modèles de gestion adoptés par de nombreuses firmes financières, et quant à la taille, la forme et la rentabilité futures du secteur financier dans son ensemble.

Après tout, les banques sont toujours aussi impopulaires dans les pays développés. Les banquiers sont encore considérés comme des parias sociaux, dénigrés par l’opinion publique au même titre que les trafiquants de drogue et les journalistes. Ils se font vilipender s’ils perdent de l’argent et sont assaillis s’ils en gagnent. Pour les banques et leurs actionnaires, c’est un peu un jeu de pile ou face. Alors que les banques retrouvent un certain niveau de rentabilité, les responsables politiques en Amérique du Nord et en Europe envisagent de nouvelles taxes qui amoindriraient ces profits au bénéfice des contribuables, dont le soutien a permis aux banques de maintenir leurs activités au plus fort de la crise.  

Cette situation est très différente de celle qu’a connu le secteur financier au cours des trente années précédentes. Depuis la fin des années 70 jusqu’en 2007, le secteur financier s’est développé bien plus rapidement que l’économie réelle. En 1980, les actifs financiers – actions, obligations et dépôts bancaires – totalisaient près de 100% du PIB dans les économies avancées. En 2007, ce chiffre atteignait plus de 400% aux Etats-Unis, en Grande Bretagne et au Japon.

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