A Lack of Resolution

61 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2010

See all articles by David T. Zaring

David T. Zaring

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department

Date Written: November 9, 2010


The failure to resolve – that is, impose a quick death penalty on – enormous financial intermediaries such as Lehman Brothers and AIG damaged the ability of the government to respond to the financial crisis. But expanding resolution authority to cover new systemically significant institutions – which is one of the lynchpins of financial regulatory reform  – poses a problem of legitimacy with constitutional implications, as resolution authority is usually exercised with almost no predeprivation process and little postdeprivation compensation. At the same time, banking regulators have failed, every time they have been given more resolution authority, to exercise that authority when it is needed.

This Article reassesses resolution authority. It proposes (1) domestic solutions to protect against government overreach and (2) an international context to deal with the problem of underreach. First, it proposes that the government make an ex ante public list of potentially nationalizable institutions and, ex post, provide the owners of seized institutions a brief window in which to buy their institutions back from the regulators who took them. This proposal would add both a process check and a market check to this most severe form of decisionmaking. At the same time, this Article also proposes internationalizing the context of the decision to use resolution authority by including expert multinational committees of regulators in the decision. Because these regulators are somewhat insulated from ordinary domestic politics, this twofold approach is more likely to encourage the appropriate resolution of the largest institutions than any solely domestic approach.

Suggested Citation

Zaring, David T., A Lack of Resolution (November 9, 2010). Emory Law Journal, Vol. 60, No. 1, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1706369

David T. Zaring (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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