The nation’s largest broker-dealers should be guaranteed access to cheap Federal Reserve loans in emergencies to help prevent another meltdown, a white paper from the Washington, D.C.-based Bipartisan Policy Center urged Thursday.
These brokers, all now owned by large financial holding companies, are “much more susceptible” to bank runs than the holding companies’ banks because they don’t have the ability to get loans from the Fed in a crisis, the think tank said.
The paper’s authors argue that lending to the brokerages would be as safe for the Federal Reserve and the taxpayers as lending to the banks because the parent companies have been subject to intense supervision by the regulator since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act.
As an additional measure of protection, the paper’s authors said the Fed should work closely with the Securities and Exchange Commission to insure that brokerages given the loans meet as stiff a level of scrutiny as banks would.
Knowing the funds would be available in a crisis could give the other participants in the financial markets a level of comfort strong enough to prevent them from taking money out all at once, the white paper explained.
All of the brokerages large enough to pose risk to the financial system and warrant the loans are owned by bank holding companies, the paper said, but the lending should be available to big brokerages in the future that may not be subsidiaries of large non-banking operations.