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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : Despite its importance, the issue of financial sector regulatory and supervisory independence (RSI) has received only marginal attention in literature and practice. However, experience has demonstrated that improper supervisory arrangements have contributed significantly to the deepening of several recent systemic banking crises. In this paper we argue that RSI is important for financial stability for the same reasons that central bank independence is important for monetary stability. The paper lays out four key dimensions of RSI-regulatory, supervisory, institutional and budgetary-and discusses ways to achieve them. We also discuss institutional arrangements needed to make independence work in practice. The key issue in this respect is that agency independence and accountability need to go hand in hand. The paper discusses a number of accountability arrangements.
Description : This paper identifies factors that contributed to the development and effectiveness of debt securities markets in the major advanced economies. Government securities markets have benefited from their international orientation—debt management is most effective when it is independent of monetary and exchange rate policies; and financial infrastructures should be patterned on the standards of liquidity, transparency, issuing and trading efficiency, and tax treatment. The same degree of consensus does not exist for corporate debt securities markets. The paper identifies six regulatory and market-created factors that help explain why the U.S. corporate debt market has flourished, while corporate debt securities markets elsewhere have only recently begun to develop.
Description : This paper shows that competition among regulators reduces regulatory standards relative to a centralized solution. It suggests that a central regulator is more likely to emerge for homogeneous and financially integrated countries. The paper proves these results in a model where regulators concerned with their banking system’s stability and efficiency and with their banks’ profitability set their regulatory policy non-cooperatively. Externalities in bank regulation make the independent solution collectively inefficient. These externalities and the benefits of centralized regulation increase with financial integration, while the costs associated with the loss of independence decrease with the homogeneity of the countries involved.
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.