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15 - US Financial Regulatory Structure

Beneath the Surface of Twin Peaks

from Part III - Different Topographies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2021

Andrew Godwin
Affiliation:
Melbourne Law School
Andrew Schmulow
Affiliation:
University of Wollongong, Australia
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Summary

The United States’ financial regulatory structure is notoriously complex and defies categorisation. The structure embodies some of the principles of the Twin Peaks model, and yet a foggy mountain range better describes the US regulatory architecture – multiple peaks with murky demarcation. Criticism of the US structure is, at the same time, too easy and too hard. The structure is easy to criticise because of blatant overlaps that scream inefficiency, yet criticism is difficult because the clunky and complex structure works reasonably well, or at least is not obviously the primary cause of recent regulatory failures. Certainly, the Global Financial Crisis exposed regulatory gaps, the under-regulated shadow banking system is the classic example. Yet the then existing regulatory architecture did not account for the failure of agencies to utilise their authority in the run-up to the crisis. Structure may be important, but leadership is essential. This chapter begins with an overview of the US financial regulatory structure followed by a closer examination of the financial stability architecture in the US following the Global Financial Crisis and the very recent developments in that arena. Those recent developments are then evaluated alongside the Twin Peaks model.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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