Patchwork regulation threatens global growth and stability

Friday, 12 February 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A report on global regulation issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has called for political leaders and governments around the world to follow 10 principles for consistent, high-quality global regulation, to aid global economic growth.

The 10 principles were identified by 30 senior executives and experts from regulatory agencies, financial markets, government, academia, listed companies, investment funds, and the accounting profession at a roundtable in Hong Kong convened by IFAC in partnership with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).  The principles are intended to help guide regulators toward better decisions and protect the global economy from the dangers posed by a patchwork approach to regulation.

While business and finance are increasingly global, roundtable participants warned that important regulation is not. Instead, it is frequently focused on national interests, which can create barriers and impediments to inclusive growth and jeopardise global financial stability.

 “This clear signal from a broad, non-partisan group in one of the world’s most important trading centres highlights the urgent need for a more globally consistent approach to regulation,” said Fayez Choudhury, IFAC Chief Executive Officer. “We need a clear change in the will—and resources available—for international regulatory cooperation.

“The current fragmentation is creating a regulatory environment that encourages more risky trading and financing activities in often unregulated domains, and allows for the exploitation of gaps in regulation globally,” Choudhury said.

Several actions were discussed to foster a more integrated global regulatory framework that can create a better environment for economic growth:

Stronger systems and incentives for cross-border regulatory collaboration and cooperation.

nBeyond consultation within the regulatory community, lack of resources and different national financial ecosystems make true collaboration with a broader set of stakeholders a challenge.

nGreater incentives are required before regulators can look beyond national interest, and consider long-term, global implications of regulation.

Systematic review of regulations to determine whether implementation and impact match expectations.

nCurrent regulatory systems often focus on writing regulation rather than evaluating effectiveness. Not all existing regulations are implemented in practice.

nRapid change in business and financial markets requires continued flexibility. Much regulation is outdated by the time it is implemented, often years after originally proposed.

nIndependent oversight of regulation would allow collaborative discussion and better analysis of costs and benefits.

10 clear principles for high quality financial regulation rather than a reactive response. 

nTo serve the public interest, regulation needs to be evidence-based, proportionate, appropriately resourced, collaboratively developed/implemented, consistent, subject to active oversight, systematically reviewed, have clear objectives, and be properly targeted and enforced to address intended issues.

nThey must be developed in consultation with the public, and affected constituencies.

IFAC is the global organisation for the accountancy profession, dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. It is comprised of more than 175 members and associates in 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing almost three million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.