UK - A new research institute has been launched in the UK which is claiming to be an independent, non-partisan global research body designed to restore confidence and stability in financial regulation.

The International Centre for Financial Regulation (ICFR)was launched today with the initial financial backing of over 15 financial houses, four consultancies as well as support from the City of London and the UK government, but is being touted as an independent body serving "constituencies well beyond the borders of the UK" because those involved believe "no optimum system of financial regulation has been designed".

Barbara Ridpath, formerly executive managing director at Standard & Poor's, and prior to that was vice president at JP Morgan, is heading the operation as chief executive.

In its launch brochure, the ICFR said it will provide "objective, non-partisan research, debate and training" to "examine how regulation can address and anticipate evolving financial markets" as well as "how to shape international regulatory cooperation to re-establish stability and credibility".

Its initial work will be based around discussions raised by November's G20 communiqué, in a bid to look at the lessons learned from the recent market crisis, assess what could be considered to be successful responses and their future relevance and try to anticipate future problems.

The ICFR is seeking to be seen as an independent and international organisation so it will conduct an annual survey of global and local regulatory development to be assessed across three areas: industry, geography and interested parties - divided again into investors, issuers and intermediaries - and look at all aspects of financial regulation.

Similarly, its aim is to bring together academics, market participants, policy makers through discussion forums, working groups and its independent research.

That said, it does also state in its opening brochure the body will conduct an annual survey to benchmark UK regulation on behalf of its membership, and "ensure that factors putting London at a potential competitive disadvantage are promptly highlighted".

The ICFR said it is seeking to be self-sustaining financially, so will develop a membership model over the coming year.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email