That was the joint tenor of the conference “Towards a new supervision architecture in Europe”, which took place in Brussels on 7th May 2009. On the podium, the Commission had gathered high ranking representatives from the financial sector, the European Parliament, the financial market supervision as well as from the ranks of consumer protectors and the trade unions. The Commission will publish a final proposal for a new financial market supervision on 27th May 2009.
The event, however, did not only produce agreement with regard to the need of quickly setting up a new financial market supervision based on the report of the Larosìere Group. There was also strong criticism of the current supervisory system. Peter Praet, Director of the National Bank of Belgium even spoke of a necessity to fundamentally change the supervision culture in Europe. The long prevailing idea that financial markets regulate themselves and the suggestion that “best practice” would restrict the actions of financial market players, has finally failed. The “invisible hand” does not work, says the director of the Belgium National Bank. On the contrary, the financial crisis has shown that financial market players often follow a certain “herd instinct”. As a result, Praet pleads for a strong financial market supervision, which, however, considers all macroeconomic effects of its recommendations.

The Social Democrat French MEP Pervenche Berès did not agree with all details of the Larosìere Report; she did, however, emphasize that this would not be the right time to reopen the debate. What she seems to regard as particularly important is that the chairpersons of the new institutions are appointed by the European Parliament and that they will be vested with far-reaching powers. Fernando Zunzunegui, Chairman of the Expert Forum on Consumer Protection for Financial Services, and Oliver Roethig, Head of UNI Finance for Union Network International (UNI) called attention to the central vulnerability of the Larosìere Report. In their opinion, trust into the financial markets can only be restored if all stakeholders, in particular also the consumers, will be considered when the financial market supervision is reformed. In contrast, the Larosìere Report only concentrates on the relationship between regulators and the financial industry itself and does not refer in any way to affected consumers and workers.

Further information:

Report of the Larosiere-Group