WASHINGTON Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair Stanley Fischer on Thursday highlighted the strides regulators have made since the crisis toward ending "too big to fail," but said further work is necessary.
"A great deal of progress has been made in dealing with the TBTF problem," Fischer said in prepared remarks to the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. "While we must continue to work toward ending TBTF or the need for government financial intervention in crises, we should never allow ourselves the complacency to believe that we have put an end to TBTF."
In his first policy speech since his Senate confirmation, Fischer focused his remarks on recent capital and liquidity requirements, macroprudential policy and "too big to fail," while also laying out where he thought more steps are needed.
For example, he said efforts by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to resolve firms through its single-point-of-entry approach show promise in improving the government's ability to wind down failing firms with little burden placed on taxpayers. But there too, he said, more work needs to be done.
"Work in this area is less advanced than the work on raising capital and liquidity ratios," said Fischer.
He also said international coordination and progress in reaching agreement by U.S. and foreign regulators on how to resolve globally systemically important financial institutions has also been "slow."
"It will be important to ensure that coordination among different regulators of the financial system is effective and, in particular, will be effective in the event of a crisis," said Fischer.
Like his counterparts, he also urged regulators to continue their pursuit of ending too big to fail, but cautioned that there may never be an end point in reaching that goal.
"We need always be aware that the next crisis and there will be one will not be identical to the last one, and that we need to be vigilant in both trying to foresee it and seeking to prevent it," said Fischer.
Toward that aim, Fischer suggested the possibility of requiring every member agency of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to have the objective of financial stability added to their respective legal mandates. He echoed a position voiced by former Fed Vice Chair Donald Kohn, who has argued that the FSOC an interagency group headed by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew should have tools at its disposal to "more expeditiously" address risk.
Fischer did not offer his opinion on such steps to improve the FSOC's ability to combat risk, but he said they were worthy of consideration.
"It may well be that adding a financial stability mandate to the overall mandates of all financial regulatory bodies, and perhaps other changes that would give more authority to a reformed FSOC, would contribute to increasing financial and economic stability," said Fischer.
Fischer also argued that breaking up the banks would not be a simple solution to the problem of ending "too big to fail" and would come with "uncertain payoffs."