'There have been many battles . . . it is not yet over'
REGULATION:Swiss voters have been making their views clear in recent days, voting overwhelmingly last weekend for greater controls on what bosses of large companies pay themselves. It is the latest manifestation of public anger over the excesses that lay behind the 2008 crash and which the International Monetary Fund was tasked with fixing by the G8. Christine Lagarde was a prominent voice in the debate.
“Massive reform was called for and, from what my teams tell me, 80 per cent of it has been achieved. But it is a little bit like a boat. If 80 per cent is built but the 20 per cent that is not built is below the water line, the ship cannot sail,” she says.
That 20 per cent includes the shadow banking sector, in particular the derivatives market, which was identified as a priority.
“We [the G20] coined the sentence: ‘All markets, all products, all operators will be regulated.’ This is not yet the case,” she says.
Ireland, as European Union president, deserves praise for pushing through an agreement limiting bonus payments in financial services, she says.
“I have always been of the view that compensation of traders was key. It had to be overseen and had to be more moderate. There have been many battles around that one and I am sure it is not over.”
Five years on from the financial crisis there is an element of fatigue but the job has to be completed, she says. But how?
“Pressure, pressure, pressure.” Pressure has to be put on governments and also the Financial Stability Board set up after the crash to co-ordinate global regulation.
Are we yet in a position where we can say something similar to the 2008 meltdown will never happen again?
“No, because we go from crisis to crisis and financial minds will continue to invent new products and new instruments, which is why regulators, supervisors and institutions in charge of surveillance have to be equipped, supported and able to recruit the talent they need.”