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16 mayo 2007

Bernanke: Regulation and Financial Innovation

En los USA saben cómo se deben regular los mercados: Primero, vamos a marcarnos un objetivo regulatorio sensato, y luego, vamos a ver cómo lo alcanzamos.

Ni todos los hedge funds ni todos los derivados de crédito son peligrosos y/o complejos; y viceversa, no son peligrososy/o complejos sólo los derivados de crédito ni sólo los hedge funds. Por lo tanto, el objetivo de la FED debe ser regular en función del nivel de riesgo y de complejidad, y no del producto de que se trate.

"There are powerful arguments against ad hoc instrument-specific or institution-specific regulation. The better alternative is a consistent, principles-based, and risk-focused approach that takes account of the benefits as well as the risks that accompany financial innovation."

Los principales retos a que se enfrenta en su tarea reguladora son la complejidad de los productos, su iliquidez y su apalancamiento.

Conclusion

Financial innovation has great benefits for our economy. The goal of regulation should be to preserve those benefits while achieving important public policy objectives, including financial stability, investor protection, and market integrity. Although financial innovation promotes those objectives in some ways, for example by allowing better sharing of risks, certain aspects of financial innovation--including the complexity of financial instruments and trading strategies, the illiquidity or potential illiquidity of certain instruments, and explicit or embedded leverage--may pose significant risks. These risks should not be taken lightly.

Devising an appropriate regulatory response to financial innovation is challenging. I have argued today that we should strive to implement a regulatory regime that is principles-based, risk-focused, and consistently applied. Enhancing market discipline can complement and strengthen such an approach. As in the United Kingdom, a principles-based approach is not inconsistent with the use of rules, which can provide needed clarity or a safe haven from legal and regulatory risks. However, rules should implement principles rather than develop in an ad hoc manner. Admittedly, a fully consistent regulatory framework that focuses on the most significant threats to public policy objectives is an ideal that may never be fully realized, either here or abroad. However, determined efforts to work toward such a regime could provide substantial economic and social benefits.