US presidential favourite Hillary Clinton's recent diatribe calling for further regulatory burdens and fines to be imposed on banks are the last thing the finance industry needs in the aftermath of such a turbulent few years. A spell of reflection would be much more beneficial all round.

While much of the debate in the US primaries has been about security and immigration, financial regulation is still firmly on the agenda. In a blistering op-ed in the New York Times, Democrat contender Hillary Clinton has called for strong new measures including a risk fee on systemically important banks, the break up of banks that are too large and risky to manage, a tax on high-frequency trading and bonus cuts for executives in banks that get fined.

Of course, it's a long road from the Democrat primaries to the White House, but given the drift to the right of the Republican nominees, Clinton's chances are better than even. Then again, presidents in office normally take a more pragmatic line than on the hustings. But all the same, it indicates that a much-needed period of stability in financial regulation cannot be taken for granted.

What is badly required is a regulatory pause so that the cumulative impact of all the different rules can be assessed. Then adjustments might be appropriate. Unfortunately this common sense approach is not favoured by the election cycle.

Brian Caplen is the editor of The Banker.

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