La guerre culturelle de la Fed

CAMBRIDGE – Dans le cadre d’un congrès à huis clos où assistaient des responsables du secteur bancaire, des représentants des autorités réglementaires et un cercle restreint d’universitaires, le gouverneur de la Réserve fédérale Daniel Tarullo et le président de la banque fédérale de réserve de New York William Dudley se sont servis de cette tribune pour tenir un discours inattendu. Au lieu de s’attarder aux moyens de renforcer la stabilité des banques – en canalisant plus de capitaux vers les établissements les plus importants, en restreignant leurs activités les plus à risque et en déterminant comment composer avec des banques en difficulté sans devoir les renflouer –, les dignitaires ont fait porter leur exposé sur les banquiers eux-mêmes.

Tarullo met en évidence les écarts de conduite des gestionnaires, faisant valoir que les sanctions devraient être plus sévères envers les dirigeants qui ne satisfont pas entièrement et de plein gré à la réglementation. Au lieu d’accuser quelques « pommes pourries » pour des actes répréhensibles, soutient-il, les établissements bancaires doivent plutôt instaurer des contrôles qui empêchent les mauvais éléments de contaminer l’ensemble de l’entreprise. Pour ce faire, les sociétés doivent inscrire dans les systèmes internes de rémunération le respect des lois, des règlements et de la confiance du public.

Tarullo a également présenté la menace de poursuites criminelles et de peines d’emprisonnement des fautifs comme la méthode la plus efficace de dissuader les comportements illicites, tels que des infractions aux lois antitrust. Évidemment, comme il le reconnaît, il est difficile d’ester quelqu’un en justice pour de telles infractions, car les instances réglementaires ne disposent pas des pouvoirs coercitifs en matière criminelle, le fardeau de la preuve est élevé et les circonstances sont souvent précaires. Mais les instances réglementaires n’ont pas assez tiré parti de leur autorité actuelle pour sanctionner des dirigeants qui ont quitté le droit chemin : ils ont le pouvoir de les bannir à vie du monde de la finance.

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