The Financial Stability Oversight Council: An Essential Role for the Evolving US Financial System

Simon Johnson (PIIE) and Antonio Weiss (Harvard Kennedy School)

Policy Brief
May 2017

Among the most significant creations of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was a Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), aimed at improving coordination among US regulators to ensure a more holistic view of dangers to the financial system. Seven years later and especially since the 2016 US election, FSOC faces political pressure from elements of the private sector and their advocates in Washington. One legislative proposal would retroactively repeal virtually all of FSOC's substantive authorities. The authors warn that abandoning, undermining, or curtailing the powers of FSOC would increase the risks of another major financial crisis—on the scale of what happened in 2008 or worse. No one can predict the precise nature or timing of the next crisis, but FSOC is the United States' best and likely only guardian against systemic collapse. It must be preserved, protected, and even strengthened. FSOC leadership must carry out with vigor the core mandate of identifying risks to the financial stability of the United States.