The governance of finance is replete with challenges as evidenced by the frequent financial crises that have accompanied the growth and development of financial markets. Every crisis can be taken as a symptom of governance failure. The immediate reaction tends to be an attempt to fix the problems that gave rise to the most recent crisis. By definition, such a regulatory approach lags behind actual developments on the financial marketplace, thereby inadvertently sowing the seeds for the next governance failure. A similar lag effect can be observed in current attempts to repair the governance of global finance. This paper argues that reform proposals currently under discussion fail to take into account important changes in the organisation of global financial relations between financial intermediaries, their home governments and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). They challenge the basic principles that inform conventional regulatory regimes: a clear distinction between public vs. private; regulation vs. firm-level governance; and stakeholding vs. supervision. The paper discusses alternative modes of governance that have emerged during the crisis and are complementing for, if not substituting, more conventional forms of governance.
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