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Financial regulation is a form of regulation or supervision, which subjects financial institutions to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to maintain the integrity of the financial system. This may be handled by either a government or non-government organization.
The aims of financial regulators are usually:
The following is a short listing of regulatory authorities in various jurisdictions, for a more complete listing, please see list of financial regulatory authorities by country.
In most cases, financial regulatory authorities regulate all financial activities. But in some cases, there are specific authorities to regulate each sector of the finance industry, mainly banking, securities, insurance and pensions markets, but in some cases also commodities, futures, forwards, etc. For example, in Australia, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) supervises banks and insurers, while the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for enforcing financial services and corporations laws.
Sometimes more than one institution regulates and supervises the banking market, normally because, apart from regulatory authorities, central banks also regulate the banking industry. For example, in the USA banking is regulated by a lot of regulators, such as the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of Thrift Supervision, as well as regulators at the state level.
In addition, there are also associations of financial regulatory authorities. In the European Union, there are the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR), the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) and the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS), which are Level-3 committees of the EU in the Lamfalussy process. And, at a world level, we have the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Joint Forum, and the Financial Stability Board.
The structure of financial regulation has changed significantly in the past two decades, as the legal and geographic boundaries between markets in banking, securities, and insurance have become increasingly "blurred" and globalized.
Think-tanks such as the World Pensions Council have argued that most European governments pushed dogmatically for the adoption of the Basel II recommendations, adopted in 2005, transposed in European Union law through the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD), effective since 2008. In essence, they forced European banks, and, more importantly, the European Central Bank itself e.g. when gauging the solvency of EU-based financial institutions, to rely more than ever on the standardized assessments of credit risk marketed by two private US agencies- Moody’s and S&P, thus using public policy and ultimately taxpayers’ money to strengthen an anti-competitive duopolistic industry. Ironically, European governments have abdicated a key component of their regulatory authority in favor of a non-European, highly deregulated, private cartel… 
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