Page last updated at 02:08 GMT, Saturday, 26 September 2009 03:08 UK

Obama hails 'tough regulations'

President Barack Obama: ''We have agreed to a strong set of reforms''

The world's leading nations have agreed "tough new regulations" to prevent another global financial crisis, US President Barack Obama has said.

These relate to the amount of money banks have to hold in reserve and to excessive pay for bankers.

Speaking at the end of a two-day G20 summit, Mr Obama also outlined plans to give emerging economies a greater say in the global economy.

The G20 will effectively replace the G8 group of developed economies.

Global leaders also announced a deal to shift the balance of voting in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) towards growing nations such as China at the summit the US city if Pittsburgh.

'Reckless few'

"We have taken bold and concerted action to forge a new framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth," said US President Barack Obama.

"We have agreed tough new financial regulations to ensure that the reckless few can no longer be allowed to put the global financial system at risk."

WHAT IS THE G20?
Set up after the Asian financial crisis in 1999 as a forum for finance ministers and central bankers
First G20 leaders summit in 2008 to discuss response to economic crisis
Members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, UK, USA
Joined by Spain, Netherlands, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation

He said that leading nations would now be allowed to assess each others' economic policies.

Mr Obama added that the leaders had agreed rules to ensure that executive pay would be linked to long term financial performance.

Many have criticised excessive bonuses as encouraging the kind of short term risk-taking that contributed to the financial crisis.

Despite Mr Obama's declaration, the G20 fell short of agreeing specific rules on the capital reserves that banks need to hold.

"We commit to developing by end-2010 internationally agreed rules to improve both the quantity and quality of bank capital and to discourage excessive [borrowing]," a statement from the G20 leaders said following the summit.

It added that the rules will be phased in once financial conditions improve and recovery is "assured".

The leaders also fell short of agreeing a cap on bonuses, agreeing instead that bonus payments should not be guaranteed for many years, should be deferred in part, and should not exceed a percentage of the bank's revenue.

'Fudging it'

"We designated the G20 to be the premier forum for our international economic co-operation," the statement said.

G20 ANALYSIS
Stephanie Flanders

The lesson of Pittsburgh is that the old world still can't bring itself to follow through on its inclusive rhetoric.

Robert Peston

It is endeavouring to patch up the failed framework of banking regulation rather than going for more fundamental and radical change

Mark Mardell

The US had until now appeared to want to leave this politically tricky proposal [on bonuses] on the back burner



It added that the global leaders would shift "at least 5%" of the quota of votes within the IMF from "over-represented countries to under-represented countries".

It described under-represented countries as "dynamic emerging markets and developing countries".

Emerging economies will also get a greater say at the World Bank.

The leaders also pledged to continue pumping money into their economies until "a durable recovery is secured".

But there will be no formal announcement that the G20 will replace the G8 until 2011, said the BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders.

"The leaders would have liked formally to announce the handover today in Pittsburgh, but the Canadians - who are chairing the G8 next year - kicked up such a fuss that they had to fudge it," she said.

There will now be a G20 meeting on the sidelines of Canada's G8 Summit next June, where most of the economic business of the day will be discussed.

But, formally at least, the economic side of the G8 will live on another year.

'Distrust'

The IMF has 186 member-states. It lends money to countries that are facing problems, but in return economic changes have to be made by those countries.

Currently, China wields 3.7% of IMF votes compared with France's 4.9%, although the Chinese economy is now 50% larger than that of France.

The IMF has been criticised in the past as being a group of developed countries trying to lay down the law to struggling countries, which is why the decision to give growing nations more votes is important.

"If you talk to the Chinese or talk to anyone from emerging markets they say the IMF doesn't have legitimacy and... we don't trust the IMF to come and rescue us in a crisis," Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the IMF, told the BBC.

"They don't trust it because it's US and West Europe-dominated. That's not fair... and the IMF doesn't function properly as a result."

Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen welcomed the change in voting rights, but said that, "on their own, they won't be able to achieve much... It's not just a question of voting rights, but also a question of broadening the dialogue".



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