Autorité Des Marchés Financiers’ Michel Prada

An exit interview with the outgoing chairman of France's financial market regulator.

Have all of these problems led to a general lack of trust in the financial markets and financial regulation?

I don’t think this has had a significant effect on the functioning of the markets in France. The market is not booming but I don’t know of any country where it is. We haven’t seen a loss of confidence in the market, and the fact that we have had problems that have been solved shows that the regulatory system is resilient and that people can have confidence that it does work.

In France there is still a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of a market economy and of the fundamentals of a financial system. This is not linked to the recent turmoil — it is the consequence of years during which the economy functioned very differently. The role of the state was bigger and the role of the markets less significant.

Since the late 1980s, the system has progressively developed in the direction of a market economy through privatisation, deregulation and competition. The public, and possibly some politicians, are not yet totally aware of what’s going on and are not always ready to understand how the new system functions. So when something goes wrong, people tend to criticise the system. Crises and bubbles are part of the game. We need to educate the public.

The AMF can play a role in this but we’re not equipped to deal with it alone. We favoured the creation of a special body (l’Institut pour l’Education Financière du Public), two years ago, which is devoted to public education. Now we’re striving to obtain more resources to support this.


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