The Future of the Global Financial System

Friday, January 10, 11 a.m.

A look ahead at the next decade of global finance and the shape of things to come:

  • What are the key challenges for central banks, finance ministries, regulators, and global financial institutions?
  • What changes need to be put in place to balance the requirements of growth, employment, and financial stability around the world?
  • What are the prospects that the structure and operation of global finance in 2020 will be substantially stronger than they are today?

Moderator
Jeffrey E. Garten
Juan Trippe Professor in the Practice of International Trade, Yale School of Management 
Former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade

Panelists
Roger Altman
Founder and Executive Chairman, Evercore
Former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

Sheila C. Bair
Senior Advisor, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Former Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Gary Gensler
Former Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Robert E. Rubin LAW '64
Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations
Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

Paul A. Volcker
Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Robert B. Zoellick
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Former President of the World Bank Group
 

Will the world be able to build the low-carbon infrastructure that is so critical to ours and future generations? Will the billions of new entrants into the global middle class have access to the goods and services they will demand? Will countless men and women living in poverty have the opportunity to lift themselves out? Will there be enough jobs? Financial security for the aging population around the world? Fewer destructive financial crises that set back hundreds of millions of lives, sometimes irrevocably and forever?  One way or another, these and many of the other biggest questions of our time are linked to the global financial system, its efficiency, its fairness and its stability.

The problem is that although this system, established after World War II, served the world reasonably well for 50 years, it is now under great strain. For the last few decades, it has proved to be crisis prone, each successive breakdown being deeper, more global, and more destructive than the last. The global financial system has now become so big, so interconnected, and so technically complex that experts disagree as to whether it is overregulated, underregulated, or regulated in a totally ineffective way—or some of each. The key banking institutions are increasingly short-term oriented in a world crying for longer-term investment. The U.S. and the dollar—lynchpins of the system—can no longer play the central role they once did. The international institutions reflect governance arrangements that stem from the 1950s; to maintain their political legitimacy and authority, they are in desperate need for more involvement and direction from emerging market nations.

All this raises the question of what should be done over the next decade or so to strengthen global finance. That is the subject of this distinguished panel, which will look at the big challenges facing the system and offer ideas for improving it.

The panel will also kick of an extended year-long discussion of the subject, comprised of interviews with a wide number of officials from around the world—top financial executives, former finance ministers and central bank presidents, senior members of international organizations, and noted scholars of economics, finance and history. These interviews will be posted on a forthcoming Yale SOM website called “The Future of the Global Financial System.”

 

Biographies

Jeffery E. Garten Jeffery E. Garten Jeffrey E. Garten

Juan Trippe Professor in the Practice of International Trade, Yale School of Management 
Former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade

Jeffrey E. Garten is the Juan Trippe Professor in the Practice of International Trade and Finance and former dean (1996-2005.) Prior to coming to Yale he was undersecretary of commerce for international trade in the first Clinton Administration, and before that, a managing director of the Blackstone Group and Lehman Brothers. He is the author of several books on the global political economy, and from 1997-2008 he was a columnist for BusinessWeek.

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Roger Altman Roger Altman Roger Altman

Founder and Executive Chairman, Evercore
Former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

Roger Altman is Founder and Executive Chairman of Evercore, which has become the most active independent investment bank in the United States.

Mr. Altman began his investment banking career at Lehman Brothers and, in 1974, became a general partner of that firm. Beginning in 1977, he served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for four years. He then returned to Lehman Brothers, becoming co-head of investment banking. He remained in that position until the firm was sold to American Express.

In 1987, Mr. Altman joined The Blackstone Group as Vice Chairman, head of the firm’s advisory business and a member of its Investment Committee.

Beginning in January 1993, Mr. Altman returned to Washington to serve as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for two years. In 1996, he formed Evercore Partners.

Mr. Altman is a Trustee of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, serving on its Investment Committee, and is Vice Chairman of The Board of The American Museum of Natural History. He also serves as Chairman of New Visions for Public Schools. He is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations and a Director of Conservation International. He received an A.B. from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

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Sheila C. Bair Sheila C. Bair Sheila C. Bair

Senior Advisor, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Former Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Sheila C. Bair served as Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during one of the nation’s most turbulent economic eras in history. With the collapse and upheaval of U.S. and global markets as well as venerable financial institutions, Chairman Bair worked diligently both in front of and behind the scenes to bolster public confidence and financial system stability. Her extraordinary efforts and relentless dedication established her as an ardent advocate and innovator of policies to end the doctrine of too-big-to-fail and taxpayer bailouts.

Chairman Bair has been lauded for her fierce advocacy of the public interest in articles and editorials in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Financial Times, and the New Yorker. As Time Magazine aptly stated in selecting her as one of its 100 most influential people, she has served as “the little guy’s protector in chief.” Additionally, Chairman Bair has received numerous honors and accolades for her pioneering work including the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and twice being named by Forbes Magazine as the second most powerful woman in the world after Germany’s Angela Merkel.

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Gary Gensler Gary Gensler Gary Gensler

Former Chairman
Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Gary Gensler was sworn in as the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on May 26, 2009. Chairman Gensler previously served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Under Secretary of Domestic Finance (1999-2001) and as Assistant Secretary of Financial Markets (1997-1999). He subsequently served as a Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Senator Paul Sarbanes, on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reforming corporate responsibility, accounting and securities laws.

As Under Secretary of the Treasury, Chairman Gensler was the principal advisor to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and later to Secretary Lawrence Summers on all aspects of domestic finance. The office was responsible for formulating policy and legislation in the areas of U.S. financial markets, public debt management, the banking system, financial services, fiscal affairs, federal lending, Government Sponsored Enterprises, and community development. In recognition of this service, he was awarded Treasury’s highest honor, the Alexander Hamilton Award.

Prior to joining Treasury, Chairman Gensler worked for 18 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was selected as a partner; in his last role he was Co-head of Finance.

Chairman Gensler is the co-author of a book, The Great Mutual Fund Trap, which presents common sense investment advice for middle income Americans.

He is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1978, with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and received a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School’s graduate division in 1979. He lives with his three daughters outside of Baltimore, Maryland.

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Robert E. Rubin Robert E. Rubin Robert E. Rubin LAW '64

Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations
Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

Robert E. Rubin served as our nation’s 70th Secretary of the Treasury from January 10, 1995 until July 2, 1999. He joined the Clinton Administration in 1993, serving in the White House as Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and as the first Director of the National Economic Council. He joined Goldman, Sachs & Company in 1966 and served as Co-Chairman from 1990 to 1992. From 1999 to 2009, Mr. Rubin served as a member of the Board of Directors at Citigroup and as a senior advisor to the company. In 2010, he joined Centerview Partners as counselor of the firm. He is Chairman of the Board of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s leading community development support organization. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Mount Sinai Medical Center and is a member of the Harvard Corporation. In June 2007, he was named Co-Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2005, Mr. Rubin was one of the founders of The Hamilton Project, an economic policy project housed at the Brookings Institution that offers a strategic vision and innovative policy proposals on how to create a growing economy that benefits more Americans. He is author of In An Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington [Random House, 2003, with Jacob Weisberg], a New York Times bestseller and one of Business Week's ten best business books of the year.

Mr. Rubin graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1960 with an A.B. in economics. He received a L.L.B. from Yale Law School in 1964 and attended the London School of Economics. He has received honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, Columbia and other universities.

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Paul A. Volcker Paul A. Volcker Paul A. Volcker

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

In the course of his career, Mr. Volcker worked in the United States Federal Government for almost 30 years, culminating in two terms as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979-1987, a critical period in bringing a high level of inflation to an end.  In earlier stages of his career, Mr. Volcker served as Undersecretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs during the early 1970’s, a period of historic change in international monetary arrangements.  He was subsequently President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and in earlier years was an official of The Chase Manhattan Bank.

Mr. Volcker retired as Chairman of Wolfensohn & Co. upon the merger of that firm with Bankers Trust.  From 1996-1999, Mr. Volcker headed  The Independent Committee of Eminent Persons, formed by Swiss and Jewish organizations to investigate deposit accounts and other assets in Swiss banks of victims of Nazi persecution and to arrange for their disposition.  From 2000 – 2005 Mr. Volcker served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the newly formed International Accounting Standards Committee overseeing a renewed effort to develop consistent, high-quality accounting standards acceptable in all countries.  Upon leaving public service in 1987, and again in 2003, he headed private, non-partisan Commissions on the Public Service, each recommending a sweeping overhaul of the organization and personnel practices of the United States Federal Government.

In 2004, Mr. Volcker was asked by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to chair the Independent Inquiry into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program, resulting in identification of substantial corruption and malfeasance.   In 2007, Mr. Volcker was asked by the President of the World Bank to chair a panel of experts to review the operations of the Department of Institutional Integrity. That effort has culminated in broad reform of the Bank’s anti-corruption effort. In November 2008, President Elect Obama chose Mr. Volcker to head the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board which ended in Feb. 2011.

In 2013, Mr. Volcker launched the Volcker Alliance to address the challenge of effective execution of public policies and to help rebuild trust in government. As a nonpartisan, non-profit organization based in New York City, the Volcker Alliance aims to catalyze new thinking and action with respect to federal, state, and local government in the U.S. and abroad.

Educated at Princeton, Harvard and the London School of Economics, Mr. Volcker is a recipient of honorary doctorates from each of his “alma maters”, as well as a number of other American and foreign universities.

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Robert B. Zoellick Robert B. Zoellick Robert B. Zoellick

Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Former President of the World Bank Group

Robert B. Zoellick is a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Zoellick was the president of the World Bank Group from 2007-12. He served in President George W. Bush's cabinet as U.S. Trade Representative from 2001 to 2005 and as Deputy Secretary of State from 2005 to 2006. From 1985 to 1993, Zoellick worked at the Treasury and State departments in various capacities, as well as briefly in the White House as Deputy Chief of Staff. In 2006 and 2007, he served as Vice Chairman, International of Goldman Sachs Group. Zoellick holds a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College.

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