ASI report "No Stress" features in the Financial Times

Adam Smith Institute report "No Stress: The flaws of the Bank of England's stress testing programme" has featured in the Financial Times:

The Bank of England’s stress tests of the banking sector have been attacked as “fatally flawed” for setting hurdles that are too easy to clear and giving false comfort about the safety of the financial system.

A report published on Thursday by the Adam Smith Institute, a free market think-tank, calls for the BoE annual stress tests to be scrapped, arguing they are “worse than useless” because they disguise weakness in the UK banking system.

The report has been written by Kevin Dowd, professor of finance and economics at Durham University, who is a vocal critic of the tests and criticised them at a Treasury select committee hearing in March.

Read the full article here.

ASI report, “No Stress: the flaws in the Bank of England’s stress testing programme”, examines the Bank of England’s stress testing programme and challenges the Bank’s conclusion that the UK banking system has sufficient capital to withstand a new downturn and suggests that the UK banking system is actually very weak.

The report argues that the stress tests are fatally flawed because they use a very low ‘pass’ standard, a 4.5 percent minimum ratio of capital to risk-weighted assets. This minimum is well below those coming through under Basel III. Had the Bank carried out a test using these latter minima, the banking system would have failed the test.