Hi and welcome back to Semafor Business, a twice-weekly newsletter from Bradley Saacks and me.
“It failed because of its management.” That’s Fed Vice Chair Michael Barr succinctly deflecting blame for the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the ensuing mini-crisis in the U.S. banking sector.
The finger-pointing started in earnest this morning, when Barr, FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg, and Treasury undersecretary Nellie Liang testified before the Senate in the first congressional grilling of regulators about SVB’s failure. It’s likely to continue for months and become a proxy war for broader political fights over regulation, risk, and, yes, the culture wars. Sen. Tim Scott accused regulators of being “asleep at the switch,” and specifically questioned whether the San Francisco Fed was spending too much time on climate change and too little on bank supervision.
Today I take a look at the blame game and why there might not be an easy fix. Plus, vaccine profits revisited, Fed-speak spooking the markets, AI antitrust, and the M&A on Succession.