Luigi Federico Signorini: Of dogs, black swans and endangered species - a perspective on financial regulation

Laudatory speech by Mr Luigi Federico Signorini, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Italy, for Andrew G Haldane, Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Bank of England, who was awarded the 1st Ferdinand Pecora Prize for the Regulation of Banking and Finance, Palermo, 15 December 2017.

Central bank speech  | 
04 January 2018

I am happy to deliver the laudatio for Andrew Haldane on the occasion of his nomination, by unanimous decision of the International Rome Conference on Money, Banking and Finance, as the first person to be awarded the Ferdinand Pecora Prize. It is also a pleasure to welcome in Palermo a brilliant colleague and a friend.

Ferdinand Pecora was a native of this island. He was born in Nicosia in 1882, and emigrated to the United States as a child, in 1886. There, he started his career as an assistant district attorney in New York City, where he earned an excellent reputation as a prosecutor. But his good credit eventually turned against him: his application as district attorney was rejected, due to fears that an overly fervent Pecora could bring local politicians to court. After this turn of events, Pecora left the district attorney's office for private practice until the beginning of 1933, when he was appointed Chief Counsel to the US Senate's Committee on Banking and Currency. In this assignment he was the fourth - and last - chief counsel in the inquiry launched by the Senate Committee to investigate the causes of the Wall Street crash of 1929. It was largely as a result of what came to be known as the 'Pecora Investigation' that the US Congress passed the 'Glass-Steagall' Banking Act of 1933, the Securities Act of 1933, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.