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Empowering Financial Bankruptcy

CAMBRIDGE – Four of the world’s most important financial regulators – the Bank of England, Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority – recently asked the world’s derivatives industry to change the way it does business. The question now is whether the regulators can make that happen with a request, as opposed to something more substantial. That will not be easy.

The regulators’ tersely worded letter to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) asked it to renounce a core component of the industry’s multi-decade effort to exempt itself from financial debtors’ bankruptcy – an exemption that worsens not only the debtor’s stability, but also that of the global economy. Many observers believe that these exemptions hit the world’s financial system especially hard when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.