Financial Development in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Road Ahead
275 Pages Posted: 16 May 2012
Date Written: May 1, 2012
During the 1980s and 1990s, the financial sector was the Achilles heel of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Since then, LAC’s financial systems have continued to gain in soundness, depth and diversity, becoming more integrated and competitive, with new actors, markets, and instruments springing up, and financial inclusion broadening. For all the gains, however, many challenges remain. There is still a nagging contrast between the intensity of financial sector reforms that LAC implemented since the early 1990s and the actual size and depth of LAC’s financial systems. For example, bank credit has stagnated and only few firms actively use equity and bond markets. This study takes an in-depth stock-taking of LAC’s financial systems and a forward-looking assessment of the region’s financial development issues. Rather than going in detail into sector-specific issues, the study focuses on the main architectural issues, overall perspectives, and interconnections inherent to globalized financial systems. The value added of the study thus hinges on its holistic view of the development process, its broad coverage of the financial services industry (not just the banking sector), its emphasis on benchmarking, its systemic perspective, and its explicit effort to incorporate the lessons from the 2008-09 global financial crisis.
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