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By Dimitris N. Chorafas (auth.)

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The turnaround would require that we use risk-based pricing as discovery mechanism to identify faults, and avoid their repetition. For instance, risk-based pricing might lead to exiting some markets, or to shifting of bad risks from banks applying the advanced internal ratings-based (A-IRB) method of Basle II, to others less sophisticated, and/or with poor knowledge of assumed risks. The message conveyed by the preceding paragraphs is that risk-based pricing for discovery purposes is one way of improving corporate governance.

In the United States, for example, the share of total lending provided by banks has shrunk dramatically, because many industrial companies have a higher rating than banks (see Chapter 1) and prefer to tap directly into the capital markets. Percentages on capital market financing versus loans vary by jurisdiction, but except for Germany where loans still represent about 90 percent of company financing, in the rest of the Group of Seven (G-7) company loans have been dropping significantly during the last dozen years.

Many of these companies: • are rather well capitalized, • are far less regulated than banks, and • have a strong view of financial risk. All three points are characteristic of sound corporate governance. In a market economy, entities with the aforementioned qualities are major players in the financing and investment game. They issue their own bonds, make markets in swaps, and feature a full set of services competitive with those of banks. Indeed, by running their treasury for profits several industrial firms have become known as non-bank banks.

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