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Mitchell, Arthur "Seminar on Law and the Financial Sector" [2005] ADBLPRes 5 (18 April 2005)

Seminar on Law and the Financial Sector

Arthur M. Mitchell
General Counsel
Asian Development Bank

OGC Conference Room
18 April 2005

Dear ADB colleagues,

It is my pleasure today to welcome you all to this seminar that will discuss the various legal and regulatory issues affecting the financial sector.

There are increasing recognitions today on the importance of the role of law in the financial sector. This is also one of the lessons imparted from the Asian financial crisis that, regardless of your economic growth, ignorance in the legal and regulatory aspects of the financial sector does not pay.

In cognizant of this, various efforts have been made by our DMCs since the Asian financial crisis to strengthen rules and rule of law, especially as it relates to the financial sector. These include, among others, ensuring greater independence and resources for supervisory agencies, imposing more stringent transparency and disclosure requirements on financial institutions and greater emphasis on the practice of good corporate governance. ADB, as a financial institution supporting economic development in Asia, has been actively involved in providing support for these efforts through our various interventions in the financial sector. It may be worthwhile to mention that since the Asian financial crisis, our public sector interventions in the financial sector have amount to around 50 loans and over 190 TAs and RETAs.

The seminar is done in conjunction with the preparation by the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) of a financial sector toolkit. This toolkit is one of the series of toolkits being prepared by OGC. It is a knowledge product aimed at providing OGC counsels and other ADB staff with relevant and up-to-date reference information on current legal and regulatory issues in financial sector reform. It will also serve as an important tool to support the design of our financial sector interventions. At the same time, it is being formulated in a manner that would also be useful for others outside of ADB but are working or interested in the financial sector.

We hope that the outputs of the seminar will feed directly into the toolkit. Therefore, we would encourage your active and insightful participation in the seminar to allow the toolkit to address the issues within the financial sector that are relevant in our engagement with our DMCs.

The seminar will be conducted in three half-day sessions over the next three days. It will examine the role of law in the financial sector, the principles of financial regulations and the legal and regulatory aspects of the various financial institutions. The seminar will be led by one of the leading regional, if not, international experts in the field, Associate Professor Douglas Arner of University of Hong Kong.

In conclusion, we are delighted that the seminar has generated considerable interest within ADB. It is through your participation that the seminar and, subsequently, the toolkit can achieve its purpose to add value to our interventions in the financial sector.

We look forward to a lively exchange of ideas from the floor.

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