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The financial system needs to serve as the nervous system of the global economy rather than its master. 

The costs of the 2007 global financial crisis illustrate this point. While industry lobbyists may point out that the bailouts are “only” equivalent to 1 per cent of gross domestic product in the United States, the multiplier costs of the ongoing recession and public debt debacle are substantial.

The crux of IISD's work on finance stems from our conviction that the root causes of the 2007 crisis remain largely unaddressed. While we welcome the raft of regulatory and governance reforms on both sides of the Atlantic, they focus on potentially making the existing system safer rather than addressing the fault lines that led to the 2007 crisis. The ongoing reforms also failed to increase fiduciary responsibility across the many actors in the financial services sector. Peer-to-peer fiduciary responsibility is critical to ensuring the stability of financial markets, both nationally and globally.

Broader structural reforms are therefore needed if the financial system and sector are to deliver on sustainable development. And these reforms need to be implemented in a coordinated manner across industrialized and lower-income geographies. Only then can we level the playing field across global financial markets and reward prudent regulation, good corporate governance and long-term value creation.

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