G20 body says U.S. could improve financial risk spotting

Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:50am EDT
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By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States could improve how it spots and prevents risks in the financial system from turning into destabilizing crises, a global regulatory task force said on Tuesday.

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) said the world's top insurance market could also streamline supervision of the sector by centralizing powers currently held at state level.

The FSB coordinates financial rules for the world's top 20 economies (G20) and will update leaders next month on progress in making financial systems safer and less likely to need taxpayer bailouts for banks again in future crises.

The watchdog said in its review of certain new U.S. rules that the United States has a complex and fragmented supervisory structure with many state and federal regulators.

But the new U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), set up to spot broader risks regulators across the world missed ahead of the 2007-09 financial crisis, "represents a reasonable approach" to coordinated oversight, the FSB said.

FSOC, like the European Systemic Risk Board and the Financial Policy Committee in Britain, are a new breed of so-called "macroprudential" watchdogs tasked with sniffing out housing bubbles and other risks before they get out of control.

But FSOC's broad membership might affect its ability to act quickly and more clarity is needed on how it operates so that it becomes "greater than the sum of its parts", the FSB said.

"While the risks or threats to financial stability are already identified in FSOC annual reports, those risks are not analyzed in detail and are not prioritized in terms of their significance or their immediacy," it added.   Continued...