We recently welcomed to Washington, D.C., a new group of rising stars in government and finance from 18 emerging economies for a rigorous eight-month program to deepen their understanding of capital markets. This is the fourth year of Capital Market Scholars, which brings to the United States mid-career policymakers from central banks, stock exchanges, financial regulatory bodies and ministries of finance. In an exciting milestone, fully half of this year’s scholars are women.
The class receives four months of intensive graduate instruction at the George Washington University School of Business, supplemented by workshops at program partner, the International Finance Corporation (a part of the World Bank Group) as well as at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In the spring, the scholars are placed by the Institute in internships with leading companies in finance. Graduates join a global network of alumni and capital market leaders across more than 40 countries.
The Capital Markets Program was launched four years ago on the premise that well-functioning capital markets require the support of policymakers with robust skills in regulation and market intermediation — skills that are in scarce supply in many countries. Starting next year, the Institute, IFC and George Washington University plan to bump up the program to two groups per year to help satisfy the strong demand for this unique training experience.
In September, the U.S. Treasury kicked off a campaign for comprehensive housing finance reform. High on the agenda: resolution of the government conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant corporations underpinning the housing mortgage market.
Experts at the Milken Institute have been engaged in discussions of what to do with Fannie and Freddie for some time. Earlier this year, the Institute’s Housing Finance Program released “A Blueprint for Administrative Reform of the Housing Finance System” in anticipation of the reform efforts.
The Institute team, led by Eric Kaplan, director of the Institute’s Center for Financial Markets, recommended administrative measures to strengthen the system in the near term and to pave the way for bipartisan congressional action to finish the task. Whatever the twists and turns, the Institute is committed to being part of the process of making housing finance more efficient and less a potential source of systemic risk for coming generations of Americans.