The European Commission has published a speech by Charlie McCreevy (European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services) entitled Regulation & Supervision after the Credit Crunch.
Much of Mr McCreevy's speech is a repetition of the points he made in his earlier speech, The Financial Turmoil - The role of the EU Commission.
However, Mr McCreevy does make some general points concerning transparency. Mr McCreevy states that:
“what matters is the use - if any - to which the information that arrives can and will be put, to be able to distinguish between what matters and what doesn’t, between time bombs and trends”.
Mr McCreevy notes that there is a growing debate on accounting issues, in particular with respect to the valuation of illiquid assets. Mr McCreevy stresses that any changes to accounting standards should be carefully assessed and subject to proper consultation. He also notes that there have been calls to temporarily disregard fair value accounting in order to neutralise possible pro-cyclical effects and avoid having to write-down assets. Mr McCreevy states that what is needed in the short term is additional guidance on the valuation of complex and illiquid financial instruments.
In his conclusion Mr McCreevy discusses incentive structures. He states that most important of all is the need to ensure that incentive structures are right:
“Incentive structures for distributors to structured credit products in a way that is not just designed to get them off their books by the next quarterly reporting date. We must have provisions to ensure that financial institutions that distribute retain a meaningful net economic interest in the products they sell for the longer term.”
ViewRegulation & Supervision after the Credit Crunch, 4 July 2008