FinReg21: Modernizing Financial Regulation for the 21st Century


Regulation has a vital role in any financial system—and changes to U.S. financial regulation were clearly needed in the wake of the financial crisis. However, in a constantly evolving economy, discussion over the proper calibration of financial regulation should never really stop. Because banking and other financial services cannot be entirely de-risked, at least not without losing the benefits that we as a society expect from the financial sector, completely eliminating risk is not a plausible goal of regulation. Banks and other financial intermediaries need to take on risk to support a growing and dynamic economic engine.

A key challenge with regulatory policy is to ensure that financial institutions cannot put taxpayers or the broad economy in a precarious situation when their business decisions do not work out. The challenge that we as a society face is to find the balance between safety and risk-taking. Just as we must continue to oversee our banks and financial institutions to ensure that they do not shunt their risks off onto the taxpayer and the broader economy, we must also continue to oversee our regulatory regime to maintain a strong financial sector that contributes to growth in the real economy.

The start of a new administration is a natural time to assess the U.S. financial regulatory structure. The goal of our analysis here is to help ensure that the regulatory system protects consumers and the broader economy without putting unnecessary downward pressure on economic growth and financial innovation. We believe that improvements can be made to America’s regulatory infrastructure, and here we suggest 10 policy changes as a start.

Updated/Published March 23, 2017