Since many of the world’s biggest economies were brought to the brink by the shocking collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, the focus has been on addressing the cracks in the global financial architecture. Some of the deepest fissures were caused by gaps in data. Not being able to identify the scale of exposure to Lehman Brothers or its affiliated network, traders panicked and pulled out of positions that may well have been sound. Lehman Brothers wasn’t an isolated case. All of a sudden, not being able to identify counterparty risk turned a bad situation into a catastrophic one.
The crisis exposed the need for high quality, comparable and timely data on the global financial network. Since then, policymakers, supervisory authorities and standard-setters in Europe have been collaborating to greater harmonise and standardise regulatory reporting for banks and insurance companies. Urgent debate is needed on how the world’s financial services industry could be better and less onerously supervised via a smarter approach to regulatory reporting.