Op-Eds

Nos choix de placements peuvent accélérer les changements exigés par l’urgence climatique. Heureusement, les institutions financières développent des produits plus amicaux pour la planète. La finance durable s’impose comme nouvelle norme. Les entreprises qui composent les grands indices boursiers génèrent des gaz à effet de serre (GES) cadrant avec un réchauffement climatique de 3,5 à 5 degrés. L’indice du marché canadien TSX60, où le secteur pétrolier est fortement représenté, correspond à un scénario de 4,6 degrés, estime Mirova, filiale de la banque d’investissement Natixis. Que faire alors ? Le réflexe de larguer les actions des pétrolières réussit davantage à nous donner bonne conscience qu’à réduire les GES....
Banks are often in the political and regulatory crosshairs during times of economic stress, and COVID-19 is no different. Support for the payments system and credit markets can look like support for banks themselves. And supports for businesses are controversial. Few people want to prop up firms with no future and nobody wants government credit or transfer payments to fund executive bonuses or flow to shareholders through share buybacks or unsustainable dividends. Canada’s banks have just reported weak second-quarter earnings. Laurentian Bank just cut its dividend. Should the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) ask other Canadian banks to do the same? If they did, they would be following a trend. The European...
COVID-19 has put much of Canada’s economy on life support. As we emerge from the crisis and resume more normal activity, a challenge awaits. We do not want viable businesses to disappear. But we also do not want zombie firms to live on indefinitely. Early in the crisis, governments reasonably prioritized supporting households and businesses through central banks, government lenders and transfer payments. Going big and broad made sense to help us survive the sudden stop. We now need to navigate a different problem: letting firms go. In an ordinary year an amazing number of businesses in Canada appear and disappear. In 2017, 143,000 businesses came into existence — about one for every eight that already existed. That same year,...
Over the past 25 years, Canadians’ household debt has increased steadily as a share of their disposable income. During this time, and especially since the financial crisis, they have often been told their debt levels were unsustainable and that a day of reckoning was fast approaching. And yet that day has not come. One reason why seems clear: for the most part over the past 25 years, the amount Canadians spend servicing their debt has not changed as a percentage of their disposable income. In a recent C.D. Howe Commentary, we argue that it is primarily this “debt service ratio” (interest payments plus reimbursement of principal divided by disposable income) that determines households’ ability to make their payments at the end...
In Canada the financial services sector weathered the 2007-08 global “credit crunch” better than it did in many other developed countries. One argument for why, certainly in contrast to the U.S., was the smaller size of our “non-bank financial intermediation” (NBFI) sector, more commonly referred to as “shadow banking.” But rapid growth in the shadow sector since the crisis suggests this resilience might be under threat. What does that mean for monetary policy, financial stability and regulation? As it turns out, a lot. Broadly speaking, the shadow sector includes investment funds, private lenders like mortgage finance companies, companies that offer private-label securitization like asset-backed securities, and more. Shadow banks are...