Description : In nearly every major financial crisis of the past decade-from East Asia to Russia, Turkey, and Latin America-political interference in financial sector regulation helped make a bad situation worse. Political pressures not only weakened financial regulation, but also hindered regulators and supervisors from taking action against troubled banks. This paper investigates why, to fulfill their mandate to preserve financial sector stability, financial sector regulators and supervisors need to be independent-from the financial services industry as well as from the government-as well as accountable.
Description : Policymakers are often reluctant to grant independence to the agencies that regulate and supervise the financial sector because of the fear that these agencies, with their wide-ranging responsibilities and powers, could become a law unto themselves. This pamphlet describes mechanisms for making regulatory agencies accountable not only to the government but also to the industry they supervise and the public at large, with examples from a range of countries.
Description : Banks will want to influence the bank regulator to favor their interests, and they typically have the means to do so. It is shown that such "regulatory capture" in banking does not imply ineffectual regulation; a "captured" regulator may impose very tight, costly prudential requirements to reduce negative spillovers of risk-taking by weaker banks. In these circumstances, differences in the regulatory regime across jurisdictions may persist because each adapts its regulations to suit its dominant incumbent institutions.
Description : Efforts to liberalize world trade are increasingly focusing on strengthening the links between low-income countries’ trade policies and their development strategies. However, although greater trade openness promises faster growth for poor countries, it also presents risks to those with small and undiversified economies. This pamphlet explores research by Fund staff into the nature and magnitude of these risks and proposes targeted policy solutions to ease adjustments and encourage developing countries to choose fuller participation in the world trading system.
Description : Policymakers' uneasiness about granting independence to financial sector regulators stems to a large extent from the lack of familiarity with, and elusiveness of, the concept of accountability. This paper gives operational content to accountability and argues that it is possible to do so in a way that encourages and supports agency independence. The paper first elaborates on the role and purposes of accountability. Second, it shows that the unique features of financial sector supervision point to a more complex system of accountability arrangements than, for instance, the conduct of monetary policy. Finally, the paper discusses specific arrangements that can best secure the objectives of accountability and, thus, independence. Our findings have a wider application than financial sector supervision.
Description : This paper examines the strengths and weaknesses of securities regulatory systems worldwide with a view to a better understanding of common problems and areas of global concern. We found that a consistent theme emerges regarding the lack of ability of regulators to effectively enforce compliance with existing rules and regulation. In many countries, a combination of factors, including insufficient legal authority, a lack of resources, political will and skills, has undermined the regulator's capacity to effectively execute regulation. This weakness is more acute in areas of increased technical complexity such as standards for and supervision of the valuation of assets and risk management practices.
Description : Knightian uncertainty (ambiguity) implies presence of uninsurable risks. Institutional quality may be a good indicator of Knightian uncertainty. This paper correlates non-life insurance penetration in 70 countries with income level, financial sector depth, country risk, a measure of cost of insurance, and the World Bank governance indexes. We find that institutional quality-transparency-uncertainty nexus is the dominant determinant of insurability across countries, surpassing the explanatory power of income level. Institutional quality, as it reflects on the level of uncertainty, is the deeper determinant of insurability. Insurability is lower when governance is weaker.
Description : The global financial crisis of 2008 has given way to a proliferation of international agreements aimed at strengthening the prudential oversight and supervision of financial market participants. Yet how these rules operate is not well understood. Because international financial rules are expressed through informal, non-binding accords, scholars tend to view them as either weak treaty substitutes or by-products of national power. Rarely, if ever, are they cast as independent variables that can inform the behavior of regulators and market participants alike. This book explains how international financial law 'works' - and presents an alternative theory for understanding its purpose, operation and limitations. Drawing on a close institutional analysis of the post-crisis financial architecture, it argues that international financial law is often bolstered by a range of reputational, market and institutional mechanisms that make it more coercive than classical theories of international law predict.
Description : "Messrs. Gow and Kells have made an invaluable contribution, writing in an amused tone that nevertheless acknowledges the firms' immense power and the seriousness of their neglect of traditional responsibilities. 'The Big Four' will appeal to all those interested in the future of the profession--and of capitalism itself." —Jane Gleeson-White, Wall Street Journal With staffs that are collectively larger than the Russian army and combined revenues of over $130 billion a year, the Big Four accounting firms—Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG—are a keystone of global commerce. But leading scholar Ian Gow and award-winning author Stuart Kells warn that a house of cards may be about to fall. Stretching back to the Medicis in Renaissance Florence, this book is a fascinating story of wealth, power, and luck. The founders of the Big Four lived surprisingly colorful lives. Samuel Price, for example, married his own niece. Between the world wars, Nicholas Waterhouse collected postage stamps while also hosting decadent parties in his fashionable London home. All four firms have endured major calamities in recent decades. There have been hundreds of court cases and legal prosecutions for failed audits, tax scandals, and breaches of independence. The firms have come so close to “extinction level events” that regulators have required them to prepare “living wills.” And today, the Big Four face an uncertain future—thanks to their push into China, their vulnerability to digital disruption and competition, and the hazards of providing traditional services in a new era of transparency. This account of the past, present, and likely future of the Big Four is essential reading for anyone perplexed or fascinated by professional services, working or considering working in the industry, or simply curious about the fate of the global economy.