Lockhart: Trust Vital to Financial System
The economy and individuals' financial security both benefit if Americans take part in and trust the nation's formal financial system. But in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, regulatory authorities and financial firm managers need to rebuild public trust in the system, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said in an October 7 speech in Atlanta.
"As individuals, we must see a financial system that is well governed and well managed," Lockhart said in his keynote address at the Town Hall on Financial Capability at Emory University. "In other words, we must see a system we can trust."
Identifying areas to boost trust
To improve that number, Lockhart believes there are five key areas in which regulators and company managers must be responsible. These areas are regulatory oversight, ensured liquidity, controlled leverage at the system and firm level through adequate capitalization, sound lending and business practices along with healthy incentives for managers, and transparent markets and institutions.
In terms of regulatory oversight, Lockhart said the ideal is a system in which no single financial institution is too big to fail. He said that we are not there yet but the Dodd-Frank Act at least created "a framework for the orderly unwinding of a large, complex financial institution." Lockhart added: "Here's how I think of my responsibility as a banking supervisor: collectively, the community of regulators must judiciously supervise individual institutions and vigilantly monitor the health of the overall system, to guard the public trust and, above all, avoid a systemic crisis."
Risk remains, but can be managed
In order for regulators to effectively guard against severe disruptions in systemically important financial markets, there must be transparency of trading, position taking, and settlement, Lockhart concluded.
October 27, 2011