The Virtues of Flexible Financial Markets: A Central Banking Perspective

May 22, 2006
CFA Institute Annual Conference, Zurich


Rapid technological change and market liberalization have been the driving forces behind the remarkable evolution of global financial markets over the past three decades. The consequences of this development include a geographic rearrangement of global capital markets, a fast pace of product innovation and changes in the nature and composition of financial market participants.

The benefits associated with today’s flexible financial markets are manifold. Financial markets have become much more efficient in allocating capital. New products enable a better distribution of risks and the liquefaction of previously illiquid assets. They have also increased market transparency. As a result, modern financial markets facilitated innovation and likely enhanced economic growth. Moreover, they have contributed to make economies more resilient to shocks.

These extensive benefits notwithstanding, modern financial market also entails new risks. These risks tend to elicit calls for increasingly far-reaching regulation. While some regulation may indeed be required to guarantee the integrity of financial markets, the threshold for such regulation should be set high. Regulation should only be considered if the objective is abundantly clear and if there is overwhelming evidence that market participants lack the incentives or the capability to adequately manage these risks themselves. Rather than seeking regulation, market participants, central banks and regulators should focus on strengthening an already active dialogue with the aim of furthering our understanding of new types of risk associated with modern financial markets.

Download file now

The file can be downloaded with the button below.

Additional files

Related content


  • Philipp Hildebrand
    Member of the Governing Board

Your settings

Required: These cookies (e.g. for storing your IP address) cannot be rejected as they are necessary to ensure the operation of the website. These data are not evaluated further.
Analytics: If you consent to this category, data such as IP address, location, device information, browser version and site visitor behaviour will be collected. These data are evaluated for the SNB's internal purposes and are kept for two years.
Third-party: If you consent to this category, third-party services (used, for example, to add social multimedia content to the SNB's website) will be activated which collect personal data, process these data, disclose them abroad - worldwide - and place cookies. The relevant data protection regulations are linked in the 'Privacy statement for the website of the Swiss National Bank'.

Choose your preferred settings:

This website uses cookies, analytics tools and other technologies to provide requested features, content and services, to personalise the content shown, to provide links to social media, and to analyse the use of the website in anonymised form for the purposes of improving usability. Personal data are also disclosed abroad - worldwide - to video service providers and the analytics tools of these providers are used. More information is available under 'Manage settings'.