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Shadow Banking: Financial Intermediation beyond Banks

Start date

End date

September 14, 2017 September 15, 2017


Helsinki, Finland [Map it]


Shadow banking is a broad concept. A possible definition is that it comprises non-bank institutions which do bank-like activities. Another characteristic, to which the word “shadow” refers to, is that the sector is less regulated. Shadow banks can increase competition and spur new innovation in the financial sector. The benefits could come in the form of i) improving efficiency and quality of financial services, and ii) offering better returns and risk diversification opportunities, especially for institutional investors and wealthy individuals. Markets may also become more liquid. On the downside, opacity and risks may increase. The lack of regulation implies that it is difficult to monitor and prevent the build-up of leverage and concentrated risks in the shadow banking sector. Hence, the sector can be a source of systemic risks. Further, traditional banks may utilize the shadow banking sector for regulatory arbitrage. Hence, a big question is whether regulation should be extended to the shadow banking sector, to make it come “out of the shadows”? Will new regulatory loopholes between banks and non-banks develop? Will risks simply pile up in the shadow banking sector now that banks are more heavily regulated? Or will market discipline suffice to do the job of regulation in this sector? Is the growth of shadow banking this time more about FinTech; the provision of financial services making use of technological innovations? What are the fundamental problems of financial frictions they might have solved differently? Are new digital technologies key to finding solutions to the traditional financing frictions? Or are we experiencing just another boom in novel-looking financial services which ultimately share the same problems and risks as more traditional banks?