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January 13, 2014

Bailout Risk, Far Beyond the Banks

Everyone knows that the largest of our nation’s banks would be destined for a taxpayer bailout if they ran into trouble anytime soon. But which nonbank financial institutions — say, asset management companies offering hedge funds or mutual funds — might also pose too-big-to-fail risks because of their size and interconnections?

It’s what you could call the $53 trillion question. That’s the amount of assets currently overseen by the United States money management industry, federal regulators say.

Last week, global financial regulators moved a step closer to answering that question. A paper published by the Financial Stability Board and the International Organization of Securities Commissioners laid out how regulators planned to identify financial entities that are not banks orinsurance companies but nonetheless are systemically significant and whose failure could pose a threat.

Among the paper’s main suggestions: Investment funds with more than $100 billion in assets should be designated as systemically important and subject to closer oversight. Many of these funds currently fall outside of a strict regulatory regime or are subject to only a light touch by financial overseers. Many — think hedge funds — are also shrouded in secrecy.”


Read full New York Times article here

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