Fixing Financial Crises in the 21st Century

By Andrew G. Haldane | Go to book overview
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Next steps in the international financial architecture
Lorenzo Bini Smaghi1

In addressing the issue of the next steps in the reform of the international financial architecture, I would like to start by looking at what has been achieved in the last few years. The reference point is the report of the G7 Finance Ministers to the Cologne Economic Summit, dated June 1999. The 1999 report is a useful reminder of the agenda for reform.The report identified six priority areas:
1 strengthening and reforming the international financial institutions;
2 enhancing transparency and promoting best practice;
3 strengthening financial regulation in industrial countries;
4 strengthening macroeconomic policies and financial systems in emerging markets;
5 improving crisis prevention and management and involving the private sector;
6 promoting social policies to protect the poor and most vulnerable.

I will try to assess the progress achieved in these areas, starting with those where most has been achieved.


Enhancing transparency and promoting best practices

The greatest achievements in the last few years have undoubtedly been in the field of transparency and best practices. The international community has agreed on a series of standards and codes, in particular in the financial sector, that are now widely recognised as the benchmark for good practice. Implementation is still on a voluntary basis, but progress has been substantial - indeed, greater than financial markets realise. Market participants do not seem to pay as much attention to these codes and standards as the official sector would like. We may thus have to reflect on how to make better use of the various assessments, such as Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs) and Financial Sector Assessment Programmes (FSAPs). Good results have also been achieved


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Fixing Financial Crises in the 21st Century
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