FSF chair backs SPVs but calls for better disclosure

The Financial Stability Forum (FSF), a body of national supervisors set up in 1999, has emphasised the need for greater disclosure and corporate governance in the wake of a number of high-profile bankruptcies, at its first meeting following the collapse of Enron.

"The potential threat to market integrity and market functioning posed by inadequate transparency and disclosure in the corporate sector is a significant source of concern," said Andrew Crockett, chairman of the FSF, speaking at a press briefing following a two-day meeting in Hong Kong.

The forum agreed that problems cut across national jurisdictions and regulatory authorities. But while it is imperative for a substantive response to a number of areas of weakness, including corporate governance, transparency and accounting standards, the FSF said it was not looking for a quick-fix. "There are also dangers of too rapid and too simple responses," said Crockett.

But Crockett said action must be taken in a number of areas, including the appropriate accounting treatment of derivatives. "Complex financial instruments can be accounted for in different ways, and different financial vehicles can be put on or off balance sheets." He was quick to disregard any notion ruling out the use of special purpose vehicles.

Crockett will be submitting a report on issues emerging from the collapse of Enron at the next meeting of the G7 in April.

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