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News Sep 10, 2018

Lehman Brothers: 10 Years On

On the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Barney Reynolds, head of Shearman & Sterling’s global Financial Institutions Advisory & Financial Regulatory practice, comments on its impact on the financial regulatory landscape:

"The Lehman bankruptcy was the catalyst for a reevaluation of the financial regulatory framework globally. There was unprecedented legislative and regulatory cooperation across the world in implementing reforms to the regulatory capital, governance, transparency, client assets and pre-insolvency resolution regimes. Many of these reforms were crafted in isolation, taking advantage of political momentum for change. Some are duplicative. Others were heavy-handed and, with the benefit of subsequent experience, we can see they went too far. There has also been a displacement of activity and risk into different sectors, such as fund management.

"The Trump administration is starting to reassess some of these reforms. Brexit brings with it the opportunity for the U.K. to do the same, and the EU is likely to follow. The interlinked nature of the financial markets means there needs to be continuing cooperation internationally in achieving certain key outcomes. However, regulatory reform has also driven the bulking up of regional subsidiaries, so the global financial model is less global than it once was. The task now is to evolve a more targeted international regulatory regime that permits greater global growth, while maintaining the benefits of some of the safety-driven reforms recently undertaken."