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November 22, 2004

The Evolving Financial System and Public Policy: Conference Highlights and Lessons

At the 12th annual Bank of Canada economic conference, held in Ottawa on 4 and 5 December 2003, representatives from various public and private organizations and Bank of Canada staff discussed papers presented on three key issues affecting the financial system: financial contagion, the implications of bank diversification, and financial sector regulation. Papers on financial contagion studied the effect of globalization on Canadian foreign-asset exposures, developed a general-equilibrium model of a competitive interfirm lending market in which firms can borrow or lend, and used market-based indicators to determine the probability that contagion can be generated by interbank exposures. The papers on bank diversification focused on the links between the changing behaviour of financial institutions and risk-return trade-offs. Issues of financial sector regulation included the relationship between governance and financial sector soundness, the theoretical basis of bank regulations for capital requirements, and the implications of bank capital requirements for the transmission of monetary policy. A panel discussion provided extended discussion of the conference papers.
November 21, 2004

Summary of the G-20 Workshop on Developing Strong Domestic Financial Markets, 26-27 April 2004

G-20 representatives, academics, market participants, and members of international financial institutions were brought together in Ottawa to explore the connection between robust financial markets and economic growth and development, share experiences, and to develop policy recommendations, where possible. Participants identified several areas they deemed critical for fostering strong domestic financial markets and reducing external vulnerability: sound macroeconomics policies, strengthened financial infrastructures and banking systems, and exchange rate flexibility for countries with widely open capital accounts. Papers presented in the six sessions and keynote address highlighted a number of issues, including currency mismatches, the sequence of financial liberalization and supervisory reforms, the development of local financial markets, infrastructure building and governance, and appropriate incentives.

Regulatory Changes and Financial Structure: The Case of Canada

Staff Working Paper 2004-26 Christian Calmès
The author documents some stylized facts about the Canadian financial structure. He explores these empirical facts in the context of Canadian financial legislation and finds that, over the 1990s, Canadian businesses became more heavily dependent on financial markets as their primary source of external funding.

Competition in Banking: A Review of the Literature

Staff Working Paper 2004-24 Carol Ann Northcott
The author reviews the theoretical and empirical literature to examine the traditional perception that the following trade-off exists between economic efficiency and stability in the banking system: a competitive banking system is more efficient and therefore important to growth, but market power is necessary for stability in the banking system.
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