What is Financial Regulation?
Financial regulation is the process of implementing and maintaining a system for regulating financial institutions, markets, instruments, and activities.
Fintalent’s financial regulation consultants note that the primary regulator in most countries of the world is a government body. However In most countries regulatory power resides with one or more non-government bodies (e.g., accounting boards). Regulatory institutions have different mandates depending on their location as well as what type of market/institution they oversee (e.g. central banks have one mandate, commercial banks have another), and different regulatory institutions may have overlapping mandates.
Where there are multiple financial regulators, each regulator has different strengths and weaknesses. They act as a system of checks and balances on each other in order to reduce the chances of regulatory capture. This term is used in the context of describing a scenario where regulators are influenced unduly by the interests of industry participants, who seek to maintain their advantage even after regulations are implemented. A single regulator can also become ineffective when action by one part of the market can have an impact on others.
How Do Financial Regulations Work?
Financial regulation is implemented by central and local governments, both in the U.S. and globally. The Federal Reserve (Fed) is a federal agency that regulates individual banks such as Wells Fargo, Chase, Citibank and more. Banks have to be registered with the Fed or are subject to increased supervision when breaking local regulations. Preventing fraud is one of the main objectives of financial regulation. In order to tackle fraud, non-bank financial institutions (banks) must also comply with regulatory requirements – banks cannot operate without oversight from central banks like the Fed. In addition, there are certain regulations that every bank must comply with, including capital requirements and insurance requirements.
Regulation is primarily focused on the financial system. The financial system is comprised of banks, institutions and individuals. Also, regulations impact all areas of the economy including businesses, consumers and even governments. For example, when you file taxes and receive a refund, that money goes into the government’s budget and it comes from tax revenue collected by government agencies like the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). However some might argue that this money should be sent to consumers as a tax cut through an alternative monetary policy such as negative interest rates or tax holidays.
Financial regulation affects wealth distribution as well. For example, a corporation may raise their prices to pay for the increasing regulatory burden. As corporations are burdened by the increasing costs of regulation, consumers pay more for goods and services, wealth is transferred from consumers to shareholders who gained through stock buybacks or dividends, and capital is diverted from areas that need it (such as small businesses) to areas that do not (like corporate executives).
Since financial regulations evolved over time to safeguard consumers, governments and even corporations it has worked successfully in many cases. However in some areas current regulations are outdated or ineffective. Many would argue there needs to be greater oversight of these institutions like banks in order to prevent them from potentially harming people in the future.
Regulations and Their Purpose: Global and Domestic Regulations
Financial regulations are designed to work in conjunction with other regulations to achieve a specific purpose. For example, bankruptcy laws were implemented to protect the rights of debtors who were unable to repay their loans. The purpose of these laws was to distribute debts fairly among creditors, prevent people and businesses from committing fraud and allow for new individuals or businesses to start up again. To learn more about bankruptcy laws, visit our article on this topic here.
Regulations are designed to improve the economic health of a country in multiple ways, such as making it easier for consumers and businesses to conduct transactions while preventing fraud that could put consumers at risk. Banks and other institutions are required by financial regulations to make sure that their customers are financially capable of repaying loans before granting them. Additionally, banks themselves cannot perform illegal activities without repercussions from both the Federal Reserve and local authorities.
Financial regulations can have a major impact on households, businesses and governments around the world. These regulations have been implemented globally in order to prevent fraud that could affect many people in one country or transnational corporations whose activities could impact more than one country. For example, the data protection regulation that is being discussed as of 2018 is designed to give citizens more control over their private data as well as prevent incidents of data breaches from happening again in the future.