Balancing growth and stability in EU financial reform

Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
Oxford Economics
Abstract
The financial crisis has forced a reappraisal of the regulatory architecture, globally and in the EU and its member states. Around the world, policymakers are proposing significant changes to rules governing the financial sector, with the goal of making the financial system more resilient. Given the large and visible costs of financial instability for Europe, it is natural for European policymakers to make the avoidance of financial crises a high priority. But it is also important to recognise that regulation carries a range of costs that can dilute the economic benefits of a competitive and dynamic financial services sector. The academic literature has robustly established that financial development is not only the consequence of economic growth but also a driver. If the EU is to achieve the ambitious goals for unleashing private enterprise and creating jobs set out within the Europe 2020 agenda, then it cannot afford to overlook the role of the financial system in fostering innovation and growth. As supervisory authorities consider a broad set of proposals to strengthen the regulatory infrastructure, a n important quest ion that arises is how to assess the aggregate impact of these various measures. Although each may look sensible in isolation, they could still impose a larger - than - expected burden on the financial system when take n in the aggregate. The focus of policy reforms should be on forcing financial institutions to internalise the social costs of their risk - taking decisions rather than suppressing financial innovation. Credible policies to allow the failure of financial institutions would encourage market monitoring of risk - taking, reducing the need for additional prudential regulation and minimising costs to the taxpayer in the event of bankruptcy. Policymakers should aim to put in place an objective, sustainable and flexible regulatory regime, as the design of the regulatory framework will play a significant role in the future development of both the financial industry and the wider economy. International consistency in the regulatory reform agenda is also important so as not to risk fragmentation of global capital markets, which bring significant economic benefits to companies and consumers alike. The economic and social purpose of financial markets is the efficient allocation of capital, and the regulatory agenda must be framed around this goal. At a time when the European economy is struggling to recover lost ground, changes to the regulatory regime should not unduly restrict the potential of the financial sector to contribute to the continents future prosperity.
Topic
Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
Political Geography
Europe