January 05, 2009

The emergence of a single regulator overseeing all financial sectors is likely in Europe, but not in the U.S., according to Financial Insights analysts speaking in a 2009 forecast webcast Monday.

Pointing to a Jan. 4 Financial Times article suggesting that the European Central Bank might take on such a role, Trevor La Fleche, a European analyst for Framingham, Mass.-based Financial Insights, said, "One of the very clear things we see in Europe is the creation of a super-regulator."

British Prime Minister Gordon Browne is another influential voice in favor of more holistic "macro regulation".

Senior research analyst La Fleche, said, "We are also seeing appetite for pan euro deposit guarantees."

In fall, European countries that did not immediately guarantee the safety of consumers' bank deposits saw the flight of capital to other European countries, such as Ireland, that did. This became a point of contention between EU member countries.

When U.S. analyst David Potterton was asked by BS&T if he foresaw an overarching financial regulator in the U.S., he said no. "Right now, people would prefer to work through the existing authorities," he said, alluding to the range of banking regulators, and separate regulators for other sectors, such as the SEC for the securities industry.

This could possibly change if there is more and more questioning of what has become of taxpayer funds given to the private sector, he suggested. "This is all new for us—the government coming in and giving money to financial institutions but as of today I don't see that [super-regulation] happening."

La Fleche noted, "On the global level there's a lot more work to be done before things become clear on how global regulation will be done." However, he said, "Regulation—with the G20 having its meeting in April—that will be top of their agenda." The G20 represents the world's 25 largest national economies, plus the European Union (EU).

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