International Financial Governance under Stress: Global Structures versus National Imperatives

By Geoffrey R.D Underhill; Xiaoke Zhang | Go to book overview

14

The private sector, international
standards and the architecture
of global finance

Recent financial crises in emerging market economies have heightened the importance of prevention as the better part of cure. Crisis prevention has become central in current efforts to reform the international financial architecture, partly because of growing systemic disturbance caused by regional contagion and partly because of the increasingly constrained ability of the IMF to rescue crisis countries. From architecture debates and discussions there has emerged a consensus on the essential policy measures needed to prevent future financial crises. Emerging market governments and private sector institutions have been required to change their interactions with domestic and international financial markets through greater transparency in various policy arenas. They have also been urged by the IMF to implement minimally acceptable and harmonised standards in supervision, accounting and corporate governance.1

Concrete steps to enhance transparency and to design international financial standards have been centred on the Bretton Woods institutions as well as on national governments. The IMF, the World Bank and other international financial institutions have encouraged and helped domestic regulatory authorities to develop and implement good principles and practices for sound economic management and to improve their capacity to make timely and accurate assessments of the vulnerability of financial and corporate sectors to external shocks. The core of national government responsibilities has rested with the compliance with these principles and practices under the surveillance of the IMF and other international groups. Given prevailing interpretations of the causes of currency and financial crises in emerging market economies, important measures have been undertaken to refine standards of good behaviour across a wide range of issue areas, including timely data provision, policy transparency and external debt management.2

Regulatory and supervisory tasks in these areas have been rendered increasingly difficult and complex by capital account liberalisation, corporate innovation and global market integration. National governments have been caught in a tide of international transactions beyond their capacity to supervise and

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