Asian financial markets and regulatory bodies need to understand and learn from the mistakes of the West or risk having their own interests trampled upon, said the chief executive of Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission.
The Asian financial sector, boosted by the expansion of regional emerging markets, will grow to rival that of the West, but it will be "unbelievably stupid to try to grow the Asian financial system while ignoring the problems that arose in the West," said Ashley Alder, chief executive of Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission.
Speaking at the third annual Thomson Reuters Pan-Asian Regulatory Summit, Alder acknowledged that banks and other financial institutions in Asia have been worried about certain elements of strict financial regulation being drawn up in the West.
However, he insisted that there is no "one size fits all" template and Asia must pressure Western regulators to agree on a workable set of international rules as well as enact similar regulatory reforms to protect their own financial and economic interests.
If Asia does not get properly involved in the global regulatory agenda, we will find that the U.S. and European rules will be extended to us whether we like it or not. The result could be an isolation of Asian markets from international finance.
"The threat is that if we or Asian firms don't play ball, international firms will find it hard to operate here, seriously harming liquidity in these markets. It could be a case of my way or the highway," he said.
Addressing concerns that Asia would benefit from stricter financial rules in the West, Alder cautioned that "regulatory arbitrage always ends in tears" and stated that there is "no advantage in lowering our standards in order to attract business".
"Investors want to come here to participate in Asian growth not to escape stricter regulation at home."