Opposing view: Our system is more regulated and capitalized
U.S. capital markets are where investors, small and large, put capital to work to drive innovation, economic growth and job creation. Our markets have long funded the best ideas and enterprises, enabling businesses to grow, governments to invest in infrastructure, and individuals to save for retirement and education.
That is not to say the financial crisis and ensuing Great Recession were not painful — they certainly were. And while our economic recovery has been subpar by historical standards, America recovered much more quickly than other economies, due in large part to the resiliency of our markets.
The development and growth of our capital markets has been bolstered by a robust regulatory framework put in place 85 years ago and continually updated, focused on investor protection, transparency, safety and soundness.
The response to the financial crisis was no exception. An unprecedented number of new regulations were adopted, affecting everything from market structure to capital standards. While policymakers have rightly questioned whether some rules overshot the mark at the expense of growth, there’s no question our system is both more regulated and capitalized.
For example, all U.S. banks are subject to higher capital requirements. For the largest banks, aggregate Common Equity Tier 1 — the core measure of a bank’s financial strength — is up 72% since the crisis. No institution is “too big to fail,” with the largest subject to liquidation to shield taxpayers and mitigate systemic risks.
Derivative transactions, a critical financing tool for businesses, agriculture and governments, are now subject to a robust new regulatory regime and market structure.
No other country’s markets come close to the depth and efficiency of ours, as evidenced by the size of our gross domestic product, the strength of our commercial sector, our levels of homeownership, and our vast national infrastructure. A key reason is the longterm strength of our markets and financial system.
Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., a former investment banker and member of Congress, is president and CEO of SIFMA, the voice of the nation’s securities industry. He is also chairman of Engage China, a coalition of 12 U.S. financial services trade associations united in support of high-level engagement with China.