On January 8, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released “A Framework for Crafting and Assessing Proposals to Modernize the Outdated U.S. Financial Regulatory System,” its report of a study undertaken in response to the current financial crisis. The GAO report describes the origins of the current financial regulatory system, as well as various market developments and changes that have created challenges for the current system, and provides an evaluation framework for use by Congress and others to shape potential regulatory reform efforts.  

The report recommends that any new regulatory system have clearly defined regulatory goals; be appropriately comprehensive, flexible, adaptable, efficient and effective; provide consistent consumer and investor protection; ensure that regulators have independence, prominence, authority and accountability; and result in minimal taxpayer exposure.