Research Handbooks in Financial Law series
Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 18: Engendering confidence in the financial system – challenges and observations
Two words – trust and integrity – more than any others underpin the operations of the London financial markets as an essential precondition to the creation of a climate of confidence. It is this confidence that helps the financial markets ride out the turbulence associated with periodic financial crises. One only has to think back to the 1994–95 Mexican peso crisis, estimated to have cost $50 billion; to the 1997 Asian crisis, with a price tag of $117 billion; and to the 1998 Russian bond crisis, which was put at $22 billion, as some recent examples. The shock associated with the 2008 western financial crisis, which, it is suggested, resulted in losses of $1.4 trillion, appears associated with the widely embraced belief that market volatility had been tamed and that the long-standing positive correlation between reward and risk had in someway altered in what was referred to as ‘the great moderation’: One of the most striking features of the economic landscape over the past twenty years or so has been a substantial decline in macroeconomic volatility (Ben Bernanke, 20 February 2004) It was possibly the apparent unexpectedness of the 2008 crisis, and the resultant market panic during which trust all but evaporated, that paved the way for the emergence of an almost perfect storm of scandal and subsequent accusation that has seen changes in both the structure of regulation and the emergence of a heightened public and media interest in ‘bank bashing’.
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