China's reshuffle of its financial supervisory architecture announced in March, like previous changes, appears incremental rather than radical. It will not, however, resolve the main challenge hobbling China’s financial system, which is not linked to specific choices of supervisory architecture but rather to the unfinished transition from a state-directed to a market-based financial system and the way the Chinese Communist Party's pervasive role creates obstacles to good corporate governance of individual financial firms and to the independence of supervisory authorities. Too often, political authorities and sometimes the supervisors themselves intervene directly in financial firms’ decisions to allocate capital and credit, occasionally resulting in failures of risk control and risk management. The authors argue that Chinese reformers should aim at a clearer and more rigorous division of responsibilities, in which financial firms manage financial opportunities and risks, and supervisors are exclusively focused on their respective public policy mandates.
The data underlying this analysis can be downloaded here.