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“For Want of a Nail”: ERM for the Regulators

Harvey L. Pitt | April 29, 2008

During the Revolutionary Era in this country, Benjamin Franklin printed an old English rhyme in his Poor Richard’s Almanack that touted the benefits of preparedness and preparation:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

A little over two decades ago, in the wake of what was then the worst stock market meltdown since the Great Depression—in October 1987—President Reagan issued an executive order creating the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. The Working Group technically consists of the Secretary of the Treasury (who is its chairman) and the chairmen of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and...

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