Andrew Crockett

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Crockett plays twin roles that give him a unique perspective into what works and what's broken in the world financial system, and make him one of the few people around who regularly golfs with governors of the world's central banks. As chairman of the Financial Stability Forum, which was set up by G7 nations in 1999 after the Asian economic crisis, he gathers the central bankers with finance ministers and regulators around a table to talk about their concerns in a "consciousness raising" exercise, prodding them to take action back home to pre-empt serious problems. Through the Bank for International Settlements, which serves as the banker for central bankers helping them to manage their foreign- exchange and gold reserves, and even at times extending them short-term credit he has an omniscient view of global monetary developments (the golf rounds take place after the BIS annual meeting). Informally, Crockett sometimes acts as a quiet messenger, whispering policy concerns of his political and central-bank colleagues to countries who might be offended by a more direct approach and no, he won't give examples, although he says he has passed three such messages in the past 12 months. Crockett is credited with broadening the scope of the BIS beyond Europe to include the U.S., Japan and major developing countries. He has also shifted from fighting inflation to a broader emphasis on financial stability. "He's good at the conceptual ideas but he can also move the agenda," says Christian de Boissieu, an economics professor at the Sorbonne in Paris. So, what's on Crockett's mind these days? He says he's more relaxed albeit still vigilant about hedge funds and derivatives. But the volatility of tumbling stock markets is a concern, including its devastating impact on the insurance industry. A coordinated approach to improving corporate governance is also high on his agenda. "It's very important countries don't just go off in separate directions," he says. And yes, there is a flicker of nervousness about deflation. Prices are now falling in five Asian nations, including Japan and China. "It's appropriate to think what the risks are," Crockett says. In public, that's about as strong as he'll get on such delicate issues. Crockett is also tight-lipped about what he'll do when he leaves the bis next year toward the end of his second five-year term.