LSE Institute of Global Policy
Why Reform?
Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Singapore*
Tharman Shanmugaratnam
We are in a new global era. It presents unprecedented challenge. But it also carries real opportunity for reforms and innovations that can enhance growth, build social inclusion, and tackle the urgent challenges in the global commons that affect us all.

The G20 Eminent Persons Group of Global Financial Governance (EPG) has made specific proposals to achieve these objectives. The reforms needed are within our reach. They involve new ways of spurring development finance, and ensuring greater and more lasting development impact. There is large untapped potential for joint action by the MDBs, bilateral institutions and the private sector, to work with countries to de-risk not only individual projects but whole investment environments. There is also significant opportunity to diversify risks across countries and build a standardized, large scale asset class to attract institutional investors, who to date have had minimal participation in developing country infrastructure.

We must also deepen domestic financial markets, and enable countries to benefit from capital flows and run sustainable current account deficits, where they are fundamentally needed at their stage of development, without the recurring bouts of instability that set back growth. It is critical too, that we build a more reliable global financial safety net – by ensuring an adequately-resourced global layer in the IMF, and stitching together the decentralised structure of global, regional and bilateral arrangements that have evolved over the last decade. We must also put in place a more integrated system of global risk surveillance, to avert the next crisis.

At the heart of the EPG’s proposals is the need for a new, cooperative international order for a world that has changed irreversibly…and with challenges more pressing than in decades.
At the heart of the EPG’s proposals is the need for a new, cooperative international order for a world that has changed irreversibly: one that is more multipolar and decentralised in decisions, yet more interconnected. And a world with challenges that are more pressing than we have seen in decades – especially in securing jobs, and addressing the grave threats to the environment and global health. The reforms do not require new international bodies. They require that we take bold and defined steps to ensure today’s institutions, multilateral and bilateral, work together as a system, and leverage the full potential of markets.

The recommendations within the EPG’s Report have received support from a broad range of stakeholders. Most of the reforms are achievable within a few years, with collective resolve and focused effort. The ambition is in the doing. As a key partner, the B20 will play a key role in shaping this cooperative international order – one that enables nations everywhere to meet the aspirations of their citizens, and serves the global good.

*Tharman Shanmugaratnam chaired the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance which submitted its reform proposals in Oct 2018.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam is Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies in the Singapore Cabinet. He is also Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator.

Tharman chairs the Group of Thirty, an independent global council of leading economic and financial policy-makers. He earlier led the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the key policy forum of the IMF, from 2011-2014; he was its first Asian chair.

Tharman has spent his working life in public service, in roles related to education and economic policies. He served as Minister for Finance for eight years (until 2015), and as Minister for Education for five years prior to that. In addition to his current responsibilities in government, he is a board member of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and chairs its Investment Strategies Committee.