Shadow Banking and Financial Innovation: Regulators in Search of a Theory Post-2008?
Perhaps no other element of the financial cycle encapsulates these dilemmas better than the phenomenon of shadow banking. Having first come to light in 2007, the role of the shadow banking system in the financial crisis of 2007-09 underscored the so far under-examined role of endogenous financial process, ‘inside liquidity’ mechanisms in generating financial cycles and systemic risks in finance. Yet paradoxically, while systemic risk has become central in post-crisis regulatory moves to regulate the shadow banking system, it remains a rather ambiguous notion in financial regulation. This paper inquiries into what, if anything, has shifted in the regulatory maps, in light of the lessons about the shadow banking system. Revisiting key policy reforms aimed at regulating the shadow banking system, I ask what are the areas of conceptual ambiguity in the post-2009 financial reforms; to what extent the reforms are driven by the objective to resolve the problem of regulatory capture; and to what extent the post-crisis architecture is informed by a new set of theoretical assumptions.