Waarom geen Glass-Steagall II?

MANILA – Deze maand is het tachtig jaar geleden dat Ferdinand Pecora, de sigaren-kauwende voormalige plaatsvervangend officier van justitie in New York, werd benoemd tot hoofdadviseur van de Amerikaanse Senaatscommissie voor de Banken. De daaropvolgende maanden leverden de hoorzittingen van de Pecora-commissie veel sensationele onthullingen op over de praktijken die hadden geleid tot de financiële crisis van de jaren dertig.

Méér dan dat, het onderzoek van de Commissie gaf aanleiding tot verreikende hervormingen – met als bekendste voorbeeld de Glass-Steagall Act, die een scheiding aanbracht tussen de activiteiten van gewone banken en zakenbanken. Maar dat was niet het enige. Glass-Steagall riep ook een federale verzekering voor bankdeposito's in het leven. Omdat het systeem van het zogenoemde 'unit banking' (waarbij alle activiteiten werden uitgevoerd vanuit zelfstandige kantoren) nu als instabiel werd beschouwd, mochten banken hun vleugels voortaan breder uitslaan. Glass-Steagall versterkte ook de bevoegdheden van de toezichthouders om de kredietverlening voor speculatie op de vastgoed- en aandelenmarkten aan banden te leggen.

De hoorzittingen leidden tevens tot de invoering van de Securities Act in 1933 en de Securities Exchange Act in 1934. Uitgevers en handelaren van effecten werden verplicht meer informatie te verstrekken, en werden onderworpen aan striktere regels op het gebied van de transparantie. Het idee dat de kapitaalmarkten zichzelf zouden kunnen reguleren werd zeer beslist afgewezen.

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