The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act established the Office of Financial Research, or OFR, within the Treasury Department to improve the quality of financial data available to policymakers and to facilitate more robust and sophisticated analysis of the financial system.
OFR recently published its 2014 annual report. According to OFR, although overall risks to financial stability are not particularly elevated compared to the pre-crisis period, some have clearly intensified over the past year. One particular concern is market risk, which is the vulnerability of investor portfolios to large losses because of unanticipated adverse movements in interest rates, exchange rates, and other asset prices. OFR analysis also shows elevated risks among nonfinancial corporations in the United States because of relaxed lending standards, lower credit quality, higher debt levels in relation to total assets, and thinner cushions to counteract shocks. Market liquidity risks have also increased, in part reflecting structural changes in the way liquidity is provided.