HSBC, having just been accused of “possible criminal complicity” in money laundering, must be glad to be fielding questions on a positive clean-up story today, writes Matthew Vincent in FT Opening Quote. This morning, it has promised $100bn of finance for low-carbon technology and sustainable development by 2025 as part of a package of measures to strengthen its commitment to tackling climate change and other “green” goals.
Most people aren’t terribly excited about teaching computers how to do their jobs, but multi-million-dollar settlements after regulatory investigations seem like a pretty good motivator. IBM announced today that it’s buying Promontory Financial, a consultancy that came to represent some of the problems raised by the revolving door between regulators and Wall Street banks (it was founded by Eugene Ludwig, comptroller of the currency for the Clinton Administration). The company says it’ll build a machine-learning compliance platform, with Promontory’s staff training its Watson technology. Promontory’s recent regulatory history is the main reason this looks like a pretty good deal for them. Last year, the company was almost suspended indefinitely from consulting for New York-licensed banks suspected of wrongdoing. (It ended up getting cut to six months, with a $15 million fine.)
Is the central bank in the business of lending bank reserves for final and absolute settlement purposes, or is it now in the business of lending safe assets like Tbills for final and absolute settlement purposes?