Financial regulation is a form of regulation or supervision, which subjects financial institutions to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to maintain the stability and integrity of the financial system. This may be handled by either a government or non-government organization. Financial regulation has also influenced the structure of banking sectors by increasing the variety of financial products available. Financial regulation forms one of three legal categories which constitutes the content of financial law, the other two being market practices and case law.
In the early modern period, the Dutch were the pioneers in financial regulation. The first recorded ban on short selling was enacted by the Dutch authorities as early as 1610.
Aims of regulation
The objectives of financial regulators are usually:
Acts empower organizations, government or non-government, to monitor activities and enforce actions. There are various setups and combinations in place for the financial regulatory structure around the globe.
Supervision of stock exchanges
Exchange acts ensure that trading on the exchanges is conducted in a proper manner. Most prominent the pricing process, execution and settlement of trades, direct and efficient trade monitoring.
Supervision of listed companies
Financial regulators ensure that listed companies and market participants comply with various regulations under the trading acts. The trading acts demands that listed companies publish regular financial reports, ad hoc notifications or directors' dealings. Whereas market participants are required to publish major shareholder notifications. The objective of monitoring compliance by listed companies with their disclosure requirements is to ensure that investors have access to essential and adequate information for making an informed assessment of listed companies and their securities.
Asset management supervision or investment acts ensures the frictionless operation of those vehicles.
Supervision of banks and financial services providers
Banking acts lay down rules for banks which they have to observe when they are being established and when they are carrying on their business. These rules are designed to prevent unwelcome developments that might disrupt the smooth functioning of the banking system. Thus ensuring a strong and efficient banking system.
Think-tanks such as the :fr: Forum Mondial des Fonds de Pension|World Pensions Council have argued that most European governments pushed dogmatically for the adoption of the Basel II recommendations, adopted in 2005, transposed in European Union law through the Capital Requirements Directive, effective since 2008. In essence, they forced European banks, and, more importantly, the European Central Bank itself e.g. when gauging the solvency of EU-based financial institutions, to rely more than ever on the standardized assessments of credit risk marketed by two private US agencies- Moody's and S&P, thus using public policy and ultimately taxpayers’ money to strengthen an anti-competitive duopolistic industry.
Financial regulation's limit and future
The problem of psychology and more specifically Apophenia in Finance has been recently exposed in academic journals with however little adjustment to the FCA and SEC regulations such as the "Misleading Statement and Actions" and "Client Best Interest" rules.