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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.
sábado, 20 de março de 2010
1891) O Instituo Rio Branco formando reguladores financeiros?
Talvez dê alguma ideia de requisitos de desempenho aos nossos estudantes do Rio Branco...
A Foreign Service for Wall Street
By SCOTT McCLESKEY
The New York Times, March 19, 2010
LAST week, Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy examiner released a report showing that the investment firm went to great lengths to hide its shaky finances. In fact, it even managed to evade a team of investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve who were embedded at Lehman headquarters with the sole purpose of ferreting out accounting sleight-of-hand.
How could they miss it? It’s possible that someone convinced them to look the other way. But it’s more likely that they weren’t qualified to be there in the first place.
Indeed, as Congress debates financial reform, it is ignoring the obvious Achilles’ heel in any new regulatory scheme: the inability of regulatory agencies to enforce and put in place the new rules, thanks in large part to their failure to recruit, train and retain effective staff.
That’s why, alongside thorough reform, we need to overhaul the way regulatory agencies are staffed. Fortunately, there’s a well-established model: the Foreign Service.
It’s true that some agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, have already taken small steps to raise pay, add a few training courses and recruit industry professionals on temporary contracts.
But as long as the agencies are plagued by high turnover rates, increasing their training budgets will simply result in better-trained former staffers, while the establishment of new departments will only move vacancies around the organizational charts.
Instead, financial regulatory agencies should look to the example of the Foreign Service, which is set up to build career professionals, not to be a way station for future law firm partners. It has a specialized training institute, early pension eligibility and a separate career system that places officers on long-term job tracks tied to specific diplomatic disciplines.
One key is retention. Federal agencies can never match private-sector salaries, and so the incentives need to come in other forms. Like Foreign Service officers, financial regulation service officers should receive long-term training in professional tracks like consumer protection, systemic risk and examinations and investigations, and they should accumulate progressive responsibility within specialized fields. Most important, they should become eligible for a pension after as little as 20 years on the job.
By managing the career progression and development of a stable pool of rising professionals, regulatory agencies would also be able to identify and plan for future needs, rather than merely plug gaps as they occur.
A specialized cadre of federal regulators should also reflect a diversity of backgrounds. An important weakness of the Securities and Exchange Commission has been its over-reliance on inexperienced lawyers, often straight out of school, to conduct investigations and other core tasks — a notion contrary to the practices of more highly regarded investigative agencies like the F.B.I., which draws on a range of professions and experience levels to fill its ranks of special agents.
This reliance on inexpensive but inexperienced staffers has deprived the commission of crucial private-sector expertise and other critical skills; the result is an insulated and often gullible investigative team. Is it any wonder the bankruptcy examiner says that Lehman was able to dupe federal regulators?
A financial regulation service wouldn’t just look for a wide range of applicants; it would also give them continuing advanced training. A financial regulation institute, taking another page from the Foreign Service playbook, would offer specialized courses for financial regulation officers from all agencies.
New regulators would get initial training on core subjects and common administrative procedures like handling tips. The courses would last days or weeks, not hours, and would be arranged as part of a long-term development program for each career track. There would also be specialized management training and courses on staff assessment skills, similar to the kind the military offers for rising officers at war and staff colleges.
An important benefit of similar federal training institutes has been the establishment of lasting ties among attendees, as well as the cross-pollination of experience among colleagues from different agencies. Such relationships help break down bureaucratic silos, within and among agencies — a key problem in the failure to uncover the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.
A financial regulation service and associated institute would be neither radical nor prohibitively costly compared to the new agencies and other proposals already being considered. And they would be a lot cheaper than another financial crisis.
Scott McCleskey is the New York managing editor at a financial services information firm and the author of “When Free Markets Fail: Saving the Market When It Can’t Save Itself.”