Presidential panel announces steps to strengthen financial oversight - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Presidential panel announces steps to strengthen financial oversight

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A presidential panel is taking action to bring more openness to some of the murkier financial tools that are being at least partly blamed for the global financial crisis.

  The President's Working Group on Financial Markets announced a number of steps to strengthen oversight of instruments such as derivatives and credit default swaps.

  Credit default swaps are a type of corporate debt insurance.

  To this point, the complex financial instruments have been unregulated, yet the worldwide market for them is estimated at about $60 trillion.

  These instruments helped bring down Lehman Brothers, pushed insurance giant AIG to the brink of bankruptcy and forced Merrill Lynch to sell itself to Bank of America.

  Under one of the moves announced today, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would exchange information gathered from private groups set up as central clearinghouses for such transactions.

  Several hedge fund managers told Congress yesterday that the clearinghouses should provide more transparency.

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