International Financial Standards: An Argument for Discernment

CIGI Policy Brief No. 135 — August 2018

12 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2018

Date Written: August 30, 2018


Multiple shocks have led regulators and policy makers to put increasing faith in the diagnostic and prophylactic powers of international financial standards, but the nature, appropriateness and normative force of such standards varies. As a standard setter, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has pursued global consensus, harmonization and international best practices for many years. International standards, however, are often created under suboptimal conditions by actors with a broad range of motivations, assumptions and biases. Frictions between state-level regulation and international standards can undermine their effectiveness. This policy brief examines the process of standard setting and two very different sets of standards and their standard setters to illustrate some of the anomalies associated with them. The process has become more complex, more compromised and more politicized, leading in some cases to “pseudo-international” standards or a riot of diverse viewpoints, of limited practical use. The danger lies in major economies walking away from international standards which no longer demonstrate pertinence or credibility.

Greater discernment should be exercised by state-level policy makers, international financial institutions and the international organizations themselves in proposing, deploying and implementing international standards.

Keywords: IOSCO, International Financial Standards, IMF, World Bank, Credit Rating Agencies, ESMA, CESR, OECD, G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance

JEL Classification: G02, G15, G18, G24, G30, K22, K33, F01, F02, F30, F36, F38, F42, F53, F65

Suggested Citation

Jordan, Cally E., International Financial Standards: An Argument for Discernment (August 30, 2018). CIGI Policy Brief No. 135 — August 2018. Available at SSRN: or

Cally E. Jordan (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010

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