The Regulatory Reform of Global Financial Markets: An Asian Regulator's Perspective

Asia was not directly or significantly hurt through financial channels by the global financial crisis, but rather was hurt through trade channels. This article reviews the current regulatory reforms of global financial markets and how these affect Asia. The current crisis has exposed many weaknesses in the existing financial architecture, including the fragmentation of regulatory jurisdiction at the national and institutional levels. What is required is a system-wide and global view of market behaviour. The article uses a network perspective to analyse the issues and to propose solutions. The globalisation of finance and its fragmented regulatory oversight is a collective action problem that easily slips into a tragedy of the commons. Given the fact that there is no unanimity of views on how finance should be structured, there are differences in approaches to the reforms. Because Asian financial institutions and structures are less sophisticated, Asia is still struggling with how to make the financial system more efficient and responsive to real sector needs. The article suggests that Asia needs to identify its financial needs and can develop its markets through greater regional cooperation. Identifying the need to see financial markets as ecosystems through diversity, the article suggests that Asia can evolve through simpler but more robust financial systems.

Policy Implications

  • As a matter of priority, Asia needs to strengthen domestic capital markets according to international standards.
  • The Asian approach will tend to be more pragmatic, focusing on simpler rules more effectively enforced. Financial innovation should be encouraged with an emphasis on functionality for the real sector, rather than leverage for the financial system.
  • Using the network approach means that Asians should build financial markets on a modular basis, ensuring that failure of one module will not destroy the whole system.
  • Since it is recognised that global problems cannot be solved at national levels alone, Asia can increase its voice in the international arena through regional subsets of the Financial Stability Board, central bank grouping within the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) to help push implementation and enforcement according to global standards and to have regional input into global policy decisions.
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