Keeping Tabs on Financial Innovation: Product Identifiers in Consumer Financial Regulation

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2013


The financial crisis of 2008 gave rise to renewed discussion about whether financial innovations should undergo higher scrutiny for potential harm and, if so, what type? In this Article, the authors propose a new system for monitoring financial innovations through a system of registration, data collection and analysis using unique product identifiers. Creating product identifiers would increase monitoring abilities substantially at relatively low cost by facilitating the linkage of separate databases. The assignment of unique product identifiers would also minimize errors in the identification and classification of different financial products. These identifiers would be available to both the government and the public to harness outside analysis by independent researchers in order to improve the monitoring of financial risk.