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Reworking The Global Financial Architecture: Is Universal Banking the Best Way Forward?


  • Walter, Ingo

    () (New York University)

  • Saunders, Anthony

    () (New York University)


Consolidation has been a fact of life in the wholesale financial services sector, resulting in fundamental change in the financial architecture and public exposure to systemic risk. The underlying drivers include advances in transactions and information technologies, regulatory changes, geographic shifts in growth opportunities, and the rapid evolution of client requirements, which in combination have obliged financial firms to rethink their roles as intermediaries. Moreover, financial sector reconfiguration has accelerated as a result of the global market turbulence that began in 2007, with governments either forcing or encouraging combinations of stronger and weaker financial firms in an effort to stem the crisis and improve systemic robustness. In the process, financial firms that are “systemic” in nature and had a major role in creating the crisis have come out of it with even larger market shares and greater systemic importance. Given the episodic socialization of risk in the form of widespread use of public guarantees to firms judged too big or too interconnected to be allowed to fail, the role of systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) is central to the financial architecture and the public interest going forward. This survey paper considers the sources of systemic gains, losses, and risks associated with SIFIs in historical context, in the theoretical and empirical literature, and in public policy discussions — i.e., what is gained and what is lost as a result of the available policy options to deal with the dominant role of SIFIs in the financial architecture?

Suggested Citation

  • Walter, Ingo & Saunders, Anthony, 2013. "Reworking The Global Financial Architecture: Is Universal Banking the Best Way Forward?," Journal of Financial Perspectives, EY Global FS Institute, vol. 1(1), pages 7-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:jofipe:0004

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    More about this item


    Bank regulation; Universal banking; Systemic risk; Financial crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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