Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs

Finance, business and the crisis


Last updated: August 2010

The global economic crisis has affected families and communities across the planet. Restoring stability, confidence and growth is a priority. The Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs (DAF) focuses on helping governments to improve the domestic and global policies that affect business and markets. We identify policies and best practices designed to keep markets open, competitive and sustainable while combating market abuses and economic crime through international co-operation. This page provides an overview of our response to the crisis in several key domains.

The EU Stress Test and sovereign debt exposures, August 2010 - A summary of the recently completed EU stress test for banks and, using new data on bank exposures to sovereign debt, an appraisal of the way the tests have treated the sovereign debt crisis.

Government-guaranteed bank bonds and the financial crisis, July 2010 - Government-guaranteed bank bonds have been an effective tool in avoiding the worst during the financial crisis. However, the pricing of the guarantees has created competitive distortions and the continued availability of such guarantees into 2010 may have reduced the pressure on some banks to address their weaknesses.

Thinking beyond Basel III - Necessary solutions for capital and liquidity, May 2010 - Basel III proposes financial reforms regarding capital and liquidity requirements which aim to strengthen the banking sector and help to avoid crisis in the future. This article analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the Basel III proposals, draws implications for the financial reform process and proposes further necessary solutions.

Insurance sector and the financial crisis - impact and policy responses - OECD, April 2010 - This report presents statistics which clarify the nature of the impact of the crisis on the insurance sector in OECD countries, reviews governmental and supervisory responses to the crisis and identifies policy and regulatory issues. It proposes policy conclusions which aim to promote financial stability and enhance the protection of policyholders.

OECD, WTO and UNCTAD renew calls to G20 to resist protectionism, March 2010 - OECD, WTO and UNCTAD have called on the leaders of the G20 countries to resist protectionism or the prospects for economic recovery may be wiped out. Their 2nd combined report on G20 Trade and Investment Measures finds that most G20 members are holding to their commitments to open trade and investment in the wake of the global economic crisis.

, February 2010 - The financial crisis highlighted many corporate governance failures. The OECD is working with governments and industry to develop and put in place more effective corporate governance standards.

The Elephant in the Room: The Need to Deal with What Banks Do, January 2010 - Contagion risk and counterparty failure have been the main hallmarks of the current crisis. This article investigates whether there is a better way to ensure volatile investment banking functions do not dominate the future stability of the commercial banking and financial intermediation environment that is so critical for economic activity. 

"Freedom of Investment" initiative - the OECD provides a forum for intergovernmental dialogue on how governments can reconcile the need to preserve and expand an open international investment environment with their duty to safeguard the essential security interests of their people.

Fighting corruption - corruption threatens good governance, sustainable development, democratic process and fair business practices. OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention was the first global instrument to fight corruption in cross-border business deals.

Private Pensions Outlook, October 2009 - The financial crisis has had a major impact on global pension assets. The largest impact to date has been on private pension schemes which have seen an average decline of over 23% or USD 5.4 trillion in their investments across the OECD.

The Financial Crisis - Reform and Exit Strategies , September 2009 - The financial crisis required governments to make massive interventions in their financial systems. This book sets out priorities for reforming incentives in financial markets as well as for phasing out these emergency measures. 

Dealing with the crisis and thinking about the exit strategy, June 2009 - This paper looks at the stages of crisis management within the financial system and some of the different degrees of transparency on losses and risks in the US and Europe and outlining the requirements of longer-run reform.

Corporate governance and the financial crisis: Key findings and main messages, June 2009 - This report aims to further advance the action plan on corporate governance and the financial crisis. Following an analysis of major corporate governance weaknesses, it provides a set of key findings and main messages that will provide the basis for a set of recommendations to be issued towards the end of the year.

Competition and financial markets: issues in the current financial crisis, June 2009 - The OECD’s Competition Committee debated competition issues in the financial crisis in February 2009. This report presents executive summary of the debate and the written materials for the discussion.

Financial Literacy and Consumer Protection: Overlooked Aspects of the Crisis, June 2009 - This report provides further information on the context in which the OECD has actively taken a leadership role in proposing policy actions related to the protection and awareness of financial consumers in light of the financial crisis, especially through the elaboration of the Good Practices on Financial Education and Awareness Relating to Credit.  

Private pensions , June 2009 - This report describes why occupational pensions play a major role in OECD countries and worldwide, complementing retirement income from state sources.

Investment policies and economic crises: lessons from the , April 2009 - How have governments responded to national and international crises in terms of their policies towards international investment? This paper looks at the range of investment policies adopted in previous crises and at how investors responded. It then compares this historical experience with recent measures announced to mitigate the current crisis. 

, April 2009 - This paper discusses responses to the current financial and economic crisis by regulators, supervisors and policy makers in the area of private pensions. It focuses on the role of private pensions in complementing public systems and on how to design pension systems to introduce some degree of protection, improve sustainability of funding, enhance management and supervision, and step up disclosure and communication. 

Building trust and confidence in international investment, April 2009 - This report is based on the work of the countries involved in the OECD’s “Freedom of Investment” initiative, which together represent four fifths of the world economy. It calls on countries to remain vigilant and monitor the risk of discriminatory policies and new forms of protectionism which may emerge as a result of the crisis.

, April 2009 - The risks of trade and investment protectionism rise in times of crisis, yet countries must resist pressures to close off trade and investment flows that are badly needed to bolster activity. Trade and international investment cannot by themselves bring about a recovery, but as this policy brief warns, they are crucial for sustaining long-term development.

Corporate Governance Lessons from the Financial Crisis, February 2009 - The financial crisis has revealed severe shortcomings in corporate governance. When most needed, they often failed to provide the checks and balances that companies need in order to cultivate sound business practices.This report analyses the impact of failures and weaknesses in corporate governance on the financial crisis, including risk management systems and executive salaries, providing a first overview of these shortcomings and the resulting challenges.  


 Statements and speeches


>> 20/05/2010 - Why sound institutions and smart regulation matter, Angel Gurría

>> 25/01/2010 - Obama plan for banks can help to avoid a new financial crisis

>> 4/12/2009 - 

>> 13/10/2009 - Fixing Finance - Adrian Blundell-Wignall discusses the origins of the financial crisis and requirements for reform

>> 5/06/2009 - The OECD’s effort to help build a stronger, cleaner and fairer global economy 

>> 2/06/2009 - The crisis and its impact on cross border investment

>> 2/03/2009 - Responses to the economic and financial crisis and the road to recovery

>> 19/02/2009 -  
>> 19/02/2009 - 

>> 16/02/2009 - OECD’s Gurría welcomes G7 move to establish set of ethical principles on global business

>> 23/01/2009 - Business ethics and OECD principles: What can be done to avoid another crisis?
>> 26/09/2008 - OECD’s Gurría launches drive to raise corporate governance standards

>> OECD’s strategic response to the financial crisis


>> OECD Forum 2009: the crisis and beyond


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