November 21, 2003 Innovations in basic information technologies, in payment applications, and in the availability of global markets, as well as substantial changes in financial sector policy, have fundamentally changed how the retail payments system in Canada operates. Principally, the volume and types of electronic payments have grown, and there is increased participation by diverse groups of financial and non-financial institutions as providers of retail payment services. The resulting policy problem for payment systems is how best to benefit from efficiency gains while managing payment risks. O'Connor examines the effect of the technological and legislative changes and the initiatives developed by the public and private sectors in such areas as the market arrangements for services; customer risks and costs for settling large-value retail payments; the security of payment information and the efficiency with which it is transmitted; and the effects of differing regulatory regimes on competition among providers of retail payment services.
August 23, 2003 Freedman and Engert focus on the changing pattern of lending and borrowing in Canada in the past thirty to forty years, including the types of financial instruments used and the relative roles of financial institutions and financial markets. They examine how borrowing mechanisms have changed over time and consider the challenges facing the Canadian financial sector, including whether our financial markets are in danger of disappearing because of the size and pre-eminence of U.S. financial markets. Some of the trends examined here include syndicated lending, securitization, and credit derivatives, a form of financial engineering that has become increasingly important in the last few years. They also study bond and equity markets to determine whether Canadian capital markets have been hollowed out or abandoned by Canadian firms and conclude that the data do not provide much support for that view.