Triage for the global financial system

  • IMF resources tripled to $750b
  • Special Drawing Rights increased to $250b
  • Development bank finance increased by $100m

Economic stimulus

  • Lots of verbiage, no action except a commitment to “conduct all our economic policies cooperatively”

Long-term reform of the financial system

  • New permanent international “Financial Stability Board” to monitor, advise, set guidelines for and crisis manage financial stability issues, with a heavy emphasis on transparency
  • Keep capital requirements high until the crisis is over, then start lowering them as prudential regulatory standards are strengthened, based on commonly-agreed guidelines and definitions, including to address pro-cyclicality and risk assessment; all members to adopt Basel II
  • Identify systemically important institutions to be given “particularly careful oversight”; greater transparency and information-sharing across jurisdictions; a uniform framework of identifying important institutions to prevent regulatory arbitrage; hedge funds to be registered and compelled to disclose “appropriate information” including leverage levels, and subjected to risk management requirements and cross-jurisdictional monitoring; derivatives markets to be subject to standardisation, with the industry given six months to produce a plan
  • Financial Stability Forum guidelines on de-linking short-term risk and remuneration endorsed. Compensation must be consistent with “firms’ long-term goals and prudent risk taking.” Regulators will be able to intervene to require higher capital requirements if guidelines are breached.
  • Tax havens and “non-cooperative” jurisdictions will be identified and, without action from them to increase disclosure, will be subject to punitive action, including disclosure requirements for taxpayers and financial institutions, withholding taxes and denying deductions, discouraging investment and tying aid to transparency
  • Faster action toward a single set of high-quality, clear, less complex accounting standards.
  • Credit rating agencies to be subject to regulatory oversight and registration, with new compliance requirements for managing conflicts of interest and revealing agencies’ ratings track records .

Institutional reform

  • Accelerated timetable for IMF “quota and voice” reforms to give emerging economies greater representation, with senior executives of international institutions to be appointed through an “open, transparent and merit-based selection process” rather than the current Bretton Woods-era Washington-Europe agreement.

Protectionism

  • Re-affirm the Washington commitment not to raise new barriers to investment or trade before 2011 (but, tellingly, “we will rectify promptly any such measures”)
  • WTO to monitor and report on protectionist measures
  • Reaffirm commitment to the Doha round.

Peter Fray

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