Washington — The United States must work with its international partners to ensure a consistent international financial reform agenda around the world and steady progress in the implementation of financial regulatory improvements, says a U.S. Treasury official.
In April 18 remarks to the American Bar Association, Assistant Treasury Secretary Cyrus Amir Mokri said the United States, the European Union (EU) and their Group of 20 (G20) partners already have made progress on strengthening the international financial regulatory framework and making it more effective.
Mokri said the United States led in setting the international reform agenda by moving first to overhaul its financial regulation through the 2010 financial reform legislation known as the Dodd-Frank Act. Evidence indicates, he said, that this reform and decisive U.S. actions in the immediate response to the financial crisis have “bolstered” the recovery of the U.S. financial system.
But because financial systems are interconnected and risks are spread across national borders, Washington must work toward broad global agreement on the basic financial rules to maintain a level playing field in the financial services sector and promote financial stability in general.
Mokri said the two major financial powers — the United States and the EU — share the view that completion of global regulatory reform is necessary and are aligned on the fundamental goals of such reform. He said the regulatory differences between the trans-Atlantic partners, which he characterized as technical, should not overshadow “our shared commitment to reform.” What’s important, Mokri said, is making sure that other regions, particularly Asia where several major financial centers are located, follow through on implementing new financial rules.
The Treasury official characterized the G20 as “a key vehicle” for coordinating financial reforms around the world. In 2012, the Obama administration views as particularly important making progress on the implementation of bank capital requirements and on rules regarding over-the-counter derivatives — financial contracts that are not listed and traded on an organized exchange — and orderly resolution of ailing financial institutions.
In 2011, global financial regulators agreed on bank capital rules that, among other things, impose a higher capital ratio — a bank's capital as a percentage of its overall assets — on banks posing the most risk to the financial system. Mokri said consistent cross-border application of those standards is important for maintaining a level playing field.
“Much progress” has been made on the bank-resolution rules, Mokri said, and more will be accomplished in this area by the end of 2012. But much work remains on derivatives, according to the Treasury official.