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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

NVCL Seminar on the Regulation of Systemic Risk

2 March 2018

Time: 4:30 - 6:30pm
Venue: Room 3.1, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, 67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JB

The Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London is pleased to announce the details of our annual seminar series ‘New Voices in Commercial Law’ (NVCL). This series takes place several times during the academic year in London, Paris and Singapore.

Now in its fifth year, the series aims to provide a forum for debate and an opportunity for attendees to hear early career academics with outstanding potential discuss their research in an intellectually stimulating environment.

The seminars are convened by Dr Andromachi Georgosouli. Draft papers are circulated electronically in advance of each event to registered participants.

CCLS attendance certificates available on request. For more information email the CCLS Events Team on

Programme 2017-18

NVCL Seminar on the Regulation of Systemic Risk (in collaboration with the Insurance Law Institute, CCLS QMUL)

This NVCL seminar is dedicated to the regulation of systemic risk. Prof P. McCoy from Boston College Law School (US) is going to offer an intriguing presentation on the decision of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia to overturn the designation of MetLife Insurance Company as a systematically important financial institution. Dr J Wilson from the University of Sussex Law School is going to talk about the role of the public sector and of the private sector in bearing the cost of financial resolution in relation to the decision of the UK Government to derogate from the relevant BRRD provisions on the creation of ex-ante resolution funds in Member States. She will further consider how Brexit is likely to affect future legal developments in this field. The event will be chaired by Professor Philip Rawlings, Roy Goode Professor of Commercial Law and the Director of the Insurance Law Institute at CCLS, QMUL. Dr Russo and Dr Georgosouli will act as commentators.

Chair: Professor Philip Rawlings (Roy Goode Professor of Commercial Law; CCLS, QMUL) (TBC)

Speaker 1: Professor Patricia A McCoy (Liberty Mutual Insurance Professor; Boston College Law School, US). Paper title: ‘Knightian Uncertainty, systemic risk regulation and the Limits of Judicial Review’.

Abstract: In MetLife, Inc. v. Financial Stability Oversight Council, Civil Action No. 15-0045 (RMC) (D.D.C. March 30, 2016), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned the designation of MetLife, Inc., as a systemically important financial institution regulated by the Federal Reserve Board. It reversed on two grounds. First, it held that the Financial Stability Oversight Council ignored its published guidance by not calculating the statistical probability of MetLife experiencing material financial distress or the magnitude of ensuing losses to MetLife’s counterparties. In addition, it determined that FSOC failed to but should have considered the costs of designation to MetLife. In doing so, the District Court ignored the fact that much of systemic risk oversight operates on the frontiers of what the economist Frank H. Knight termed the unknowable. It is impossible to quantify the likelihood of material financial distress (in its systemic sense) at any given nonbank financial services provider through multivariate statistical analysis. For that reason, in the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress permitted FSOC to evaluate systemic risk at nonbank firms based on qualitative factors and descriptive statistics without the need for multivariate statistical regressions or multivariate similar techniques. By requiring FSOC to make statistical projections that are impossible to make with confidence, the District Court not only vacated MetLife’s designation but undermined major aspects of the broader scheme for regulating systemic risk that Congress mandated in Dodd-Frank.

Paper available on SSRN.

Speaker 2: Dr Joanna Wilson (University of Sussex). Paper title: ‘The need (or not?) for an ex-ante resolution fund in the UK: a comparative analysis’

Abstract: One of the key EU-level responses to the 2007/08 financial crisis was the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive 2014/59/EU (BRRD), which put in place a new and comprehensive system for dealing with failing banks and which aimed to enhance stability, reduce moral hazard and, most importantly, put an end to publicly funded bail-outs. This article contributes to the literature on the public v. private debate of financing banking crises by analysing the decision of the UK Government to derogate from the requirement in the BRRD for Member States to build an ex-ante resolution fund via contributions from the private banking sector. A comparative approach is adopted which analyses the practices of Member States in imposing bank levies in the post-crisis climate, with a focus on whether they contribute either ex-post to the general economy (the approach taken in the UK), or ex-ante to a designated resolution fund (the approach taken by Member States operating within the Eurozone). In doing so, this article identifies the potential impact of the decision on the management of future banking crises in the UK, addressing in particular whether it will be the public or private sector that bears the cost. It also considers the implications of the decision on the UK’s current negotiations to leave the European Union.

Draft paper to be circulated to seminar participants in due course.


For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.

How to book

This event is free but prior booking is required. Register online via Eventbrite.


For more information, please contact the CCLS Events Team on

Photography, video and audio recording

Please note that CCLS events may be photographed or video and audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by Queen Mary University of London. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email the CCLS Events Team on in advance of the event that you are attending.

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