Randal K Quarles: The FSB in 2021 - addressing financial stability challenges in an age of interconnectedness, innovation, and change

Speech (via webcast) by Mr Randal K Quarles, Vice Chairman for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington DC, 30 March 2021.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
31 March 2021


Thank you for inviting me today. It's an honor and a pleasure to speak here at the Peterson Institute, a group that has driven much of the most important discussion of international economic issues over my entire working life. I only wish that we could all gather in person-perhaps soon.

A little over 420 years ago, a crowd-pleasing local fabler on a lightly populated island in the North Atlantic made popular a phrase that has entered into our language: "Beware the Ides of March." Caesar ignored the soothsayer, and the results weren't good; if recent history is any indication, perhaps we should keep the warning in mind as well. In March 2008, we witnessed a significant domino fall in a chain of events that sparked the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) with the collapse and sale of Bear Stearns. March of the following year saw the nadir of the Dow Jones average-a 50 percent drop from just over a year earlier. And the margin calls and liquidity crunch in March of 2020, was a salient echo of the other significance of the Ides of March for the Romans: the deadline for settling debts, which have had an unsettling habit of coming due in March in our recent financial history.

Indeed, this time last year, both domestically and internationally, the financial regulatory community fortified itself as COVID-19 and related containment measures spread across the globe, what I refer to as the COVID event. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) moved into high gear, holding weekly, and even daily, meetings with the most senior leaders of central banks, finance ministries, and market regulators-to share information and shape a synchronized global approach to the financial stability challenges at hand.