ADBI Working Paper Series
The Asian financial crisis (1997–1998) and the global financial crisis (2007–2009) highlighted the potential value of financial regionalism, i.e., regional-level cooperation in financial policy. This paper argues that there is a mediating role for regional-level institutions of financial regulation between national regulators in Asia and global-level institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Board. This potential role includes: (i) monitoring financial markets and capital flows to identify regional systemic risks such as capital flows; (ii) coordinating financial sector surveillance and regulation to promote regional financial stability; and (iii) cooperating with global-level institutions in rule formulation, surveillance and crisis management. This is particularly important in an environment of increasing financial integration and harmonization in the region. The paper considers experiences of the European Union (EU) and Asia in regional financial cooperation and regulation and draws lessons for Asia. The EU represents the most advanced stage of regional financial integration and regulation in the world today, and can provide valuable lessons for Asia. Asia’s greater diversity of financial development and openness requires a more nuanced approach to integration. Despite its shortcomings and slow pace, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community process probably provides the most feasible and relevant model for regulatory cooperation on a voluntary basis. It would be desirable to extend this framework further in Asia, say to the ASEAN+3 countries for a start. Asian economies can also strengthen existing surveillance processes; enhance and diversify the resources, functions and membership of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization and the Macroeconomic Research Office for surveillance and provision of a financial safety net; and create an Asian financial stability dialogue to monitor regional financial markets, facilitate policy dialogue and cooperation, and secure regional financial stability.