There were some useful bits in Alistair Darling’s Mansion House speech yesterday:
The first lesson is that transparency is paramount.
To promote greater transparency, accounting standards have to be improved.
It is essential to work at the G20 level to achieve a single and high-quality set of global standards.
Indeed, the second lesson is that solutions must not only be national, but international.
The reality is that the fortunes of different countries are more interdependent than ever before and the links across borders — particularly in financial markets — are much deeper.
Regulators cannot only look at their own backyard and hope to understand what’s happening.
At the European and international level, the UK has been at the forefront of proposals to increase regulatory cooperation, common rules and enhanced monitoring of global financial risks.
But we have to ensure strong, effective regulators at a national level — and retain the vital link between home regulators and national governments.
Globalisation has meant larger, more complex financial institutions that span many countries.
But that global reach also puts us at risk to events beyond our borders.
I could go on.
The reality is each of these says that we need to understand the balance between the national and international in financial institutions. But we have not been able to. Not least because regulators have been local and bank accounts have been global.
We need country-by-country reporting for banks. It is the obvious solution.