‘Trust is good, control is better’: The 1974 Herstatt Bank Crisis and its Implications for International Regulatory Reform

With its international supervisory and regulatory implications, the failure of Bankhaus Herstatt is one of the landmarks of post-war financial history. This article offers the first comprehensive historical account of the Herstatt crisis, and contributes to the wider discussions on international supervisory and regulatory reform since the mid-1970s, including regulatory capture, markets’ self-regulation and resolution of failed banks. In doing so, it first argues that contrary to a widely held view, the German authorities received early and repeated warnings about Herstatt’s dealings but this involved only limited and ineffective regulatory/supervisory responses, then it turns to the actual collapse of the bank in June 1974, and finally explores the wider regulatory issues raised by the Herstatt case.




Published in Business History

The article can be downloaded here, in Open Access.