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Opinion: America’s ability to identify financial stability risks is weakening

Medium Riki Matsumoto – “As the ten year anniversary of the infamous Lehman Weekend has come and gone, it’s important to reflect on the lessons that we learnt. Or in the tragic case of the Office of Financial Research, the independent federal agency Congress set up to identify risks to America’s financial stability; lessons that we should have learnt.

…Through Dodd-Frank, Congress addressed the issue of information: first, it created the Financial Stability Oversight Council (“FSOC”), consisting of all the federal financial regulatory agencies to identify threats to U.S. financial stability, and to promote market prudence; and second, it created the OFR (Section 153(a) of Dodd-Frank), an independent bureau within the U.S. Treasury, to “serve the needs of the FSOC, to collect and standardize financial data, to perform essential research, and to develop new tools for measuring and monitoring risk in the financial system.” In a way, the OFR was meant to be an independent, beating heart of America’s new financial oversight mechanism, by identifying, monitoring, and evaluating threats to financial stability.

…Since the Trump administrations bureaucratic overhaul, the OFR has experienced 20.6% reduction in total budget, and 40.6% reduction in full-time equivalent staff — a severe cut to capacity…”

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