Australia and the GFC - Why did we fare so well?

15 November 2013

Professor Jennifer Hill
Professor Jennifer Hill: "Australia's experience of the global financial crisis is a reminder that financial markets do not operate in a vacuum, but rather form part of a complex economic, legal and regulatory ecosystem."

A leading corporate law expert will examine why Australia is considered internationally as one of the few success stories of the global financial crisis at a seminar on Monday 18 November.

Professor Jennifer Hill from Sydney Law School will lead a discussion on Australia's economic resilience through recent financial turmoil, and the regulatory conditions that protected the Australian economy from the full brunt of the GFC. Former executive of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, John Trowbridge, will join her in the discussion.

A stock response by many to Australia's strong economic performance during the crisis was that we were a "lucky" country. As Professor Hill will argue, this appears to be code for the view that Australia's economy was buoyed by China's insatiable demand for Australian resources. Yet this is only a small part of the picture.

"Although strong trade links with China undoubtedly form a piece of the puzzle in this regard, there are a number of other relevant, but under-appreciated, factors that differentiated Australia from other common law jurisdictions and potentially contributed to the country's resilience," she said.

"While Australia's regulatory regime shares many features with other common law jurisdictions, there were interesting structural differences between its framework and the pre-crisis regulatory systems in the United States and the United Kingdom," she said.

Australia's 'twin peaks' model of financial market regulation, which provides a clear divide between prudential regulation on the one hand and business conduct and consumer protection on the other, operated particularly effectively, according to Professor Hill. This is in contrast to the fragmented US framework for financial market regulation, and the UK's single regulator in the pre-crisis era.

As she will show, Australia's regulatory model is now forming the blueprint for reforms around the world, pointing to the UK's recent overhaul of its regulatory structure as an example.

"Australia's experience of the global financial crisis is a reminder that financial markets do not operate in a vacuum, but rather form part of a complex economic, legal and regulatory ecosystem," Professor Hill said.

Professor Hill's seminar draws on her recent book, The Regulatory Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (Cambridge University Press 2012), which is co-authored with Eilis Ferran (Cambridge University), Niamh Moloney (London School of Economics) and John C. Coffee Jr (Columbia University). The book provides a wide-ranging examination of the forces that shaped international regulatory reform in the wake of the GFC in the EU, US and Australia.

Lawyers/barristers: attendance at this seminar is equal to 1 MCLE/CPD unit.

Event Details

What: 'Why Did Australia Fare So Well in the Global Financial Crisis?' a Sydney Law School seminar

When: 6.00pm - 7.15pm, Monday 18 November 2013

Where: Minter Ellison Room, Level 13 Old Law School, St James Campus, Phillip St, Sydney. Click here for venue information

Cost: Full Fee $77; SLS Alumni $66; SLS Student $44; Group (3+) $55 inc GST

Event Contact: PLaCE Coordinator, 02 9351 0429,

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