Spring opened with the G-20 Summit in London, where world leaders agreed to extend financial regulation to all systemically important institutions, take a common approach to cleaning up toxic assets, and establish a forum to broaden international cooperation and create an early-warning system for future crises.

How these broad outlines will translate into specific policies remains an open question. With no comprehensive international regulatory framework on the near horizon, and new domestic regulations looming but unclear, financial institutions will need to find their way largely on their own. To avoid many of the risks that brought this crisis, they'll need to treat the pending regulation as a floor, not a ceiling, for effective risk management.

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