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January 30, 2013

Post-Lehman, the push for global financial protections stalls

Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a global push to tighten financial regulation around the world has slowed in the face of a tepid recovery and a tough industry lobbying effort.

Important progress has been made. Banks in the United States and Europe have socked away capital to guard against a fresh economic downturn, and evolving rules may force them to split off some of their riskier operations.

But the post-Lehman goal — of a global scheme that would immunize the financial system from another large-scale shock — remains incomplete. Big banks, insurers and other financial giants remain intact and arguably “too big too fail.” Tools to guard against dangerous bubbles in the value of property or other assets are not yet in place. There is no agreement on how countries should coordinate the failure of a globally important financial company. Implementation of basic banking rules in major nations has fallen behind schedule.”

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