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Insecuritization

BRUSSELS – There is no shortage of analyses of what went wrong in the world’s capital markets over the past 18 months. What is clear is that a complex set of relationships, interactions, events, and omissions on the part of many different actors, rather than any single factor, was to blame.

I am convinced, for example, that over the years there has been too much “regulatory capture” by the supply side of the financial services market, with its well-organized and powerful lobbies. By contrast, there has been too little engagement on the demand side. That is an imbalance of which legislators must be much more conscious.

A second problem for regulators, supervisors, and, indeed, credit rating agencies was scarce resources. When investment banking markets were booming – and the private sector easily recruited up top talent – regulators and supervisors found it difficult to get the budgets to keep up with innovation and police the markets. In the future, governments will have to commit the necessary resources to ensure more robust oversight of risk management in financial institutions.

Capital markets must be subject to much more detailed and frequent hands-on supervisory inspections. In Europe, crisis management mechanisms must be put in place to manage their deeply integrated nature, as 80% of Europe’s banking assets held in cross-border banking groups.