In testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Harvard Law School Professor Howell Jackson ’82 called for the Federal Reserve Board to become the primary regulator of financial risk. Watch a webcast of the hearing.

Jackson cited the lack of one central regulatory body as a contributing cause of the current economic downturn.

“Rather than having to depend on cramped jurisdictional provisions drafted decades ago, the [Fed] Board should be given an open-ended mandate to monitor the entire financial services industry to identify and help rectify sources of systemic risk before the risks manifest themselves into real losses,” Jackson said in prepared testimony (PDF).“The [Fed] Board needs to develop its expertise in financial areas, such as insurance companies and derivative markets, where it has traditionally lacked authority and deferred to the oversight of others.”

The hearing was called to examine the findings of a newly-released Government Accountability Office report which concluded that the current regulatory structure is fractured, outdated, and unable to meet today’s challenges.

Jackson is an expert on regulation of financial institutions and securities regulation. He has served as a consultant to the United States Treasury Department, the United Nations Development Program, and the World Bank/International Monetary Fund. He is co-editor of “Fiscal Challenges: An Inter-Disciplinary Approach to Budget Policy” (Cambridge University Press 2008), co-author of “Analytical Methods for Lawyers” (Foundation Press 2003), “Regulation of Financial Institutions” (West 1999), and author of numerous scholarly articles.

On January 15, Harvard University President Drew Faust announced Jackson’s appointment as acting Dean of the law school subject to the confirmation of Dean Elena Kagan’s nomination as U.S. Solicitor General.