The FSA Publishes 'The Turner Review'
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published the Turner Review of global banking regulation (downloadable pdf at the end of this story). Lord Turner, chairman of the FSA, was asked by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to review the events that led to the financial crisis and to recommend reforms.
The Review identifies three underlying causes of the crisis:
These were underpinned by an exaggerated faith in rational and self-correcting markets.
It stresses the importance of regulation and supervision being based on a system-wide “macro-prudential” approach rather than focussing solely on specific firms. It recommends:
The Turner Review distinguishes between those areas where the FSA has already taken action, those where the FSA can proceed nationally, and those where international agreement needs to be achieved. It also recognises that there may be alternative specific ways to achieve the essential objectives of effective regulation. In addition the Review highlights areas where it is premature to recommend specific action, but where wide-ranging options need to be debated. These include product regulation in retail (e.g. mortgage) and wholesale (e.g. CDS) markets.
Lord Turner said: “The financial crisis has challenged the intellectual assumptions on which previous regulatory approaches were largely built, and in particular the theory of rational and selfcorrecting markets. Much financial innovation has proved of little value, and market discipline of individual bank strategies has often proved ineffective.
“A global market economy remains the best means of delivering global prosperity: it requires a global banking system focussed on serving the needs of businesses and households, not in taking risks for quick return. Major changes in regulation and in supervisory approach are required to deliver that. The approach has to build on a system-wide perspective: failure to look at the big picture was far more important to the origins of the crisis than any specific failures in supervising individual firms. And it must reflect the reality of a global financial system without a global government; we need both far more intense international cooperation and greater use of national powers.
“The changes recommended are profound, and the banking system of the future will be different from that of the last decade. The world’s economy will be better served as a result.”
Lord Turner warns that the transition to higher bank capital will need to be managed carefully. UK banks are now capitalised at a level that will enable them to absorb severe stresses, and the short-term priority is to maintain bank lending to the real economy.
Published alongside the Review is an FSA discussion paper (DP) that sets out more detail on specific policy proposals. As the current crisis arose in the banking, investment banking and ‘shadow banking’ sectors, most of these proposals focus on these sectors. Possible implications for some other sectors are however identified.
To download the full 126-page pdf version of The Turner Review, follow the link below: