“A system of credit intermediation that involves entities and activities outside the regular banking system… focusing on credit intermediation that takes place in an environment where prudential regulatory standards and supervisory oversight are either not applied or are applied to a materially lesser or different degree than is the case for regular banks engaged in similar activities.”
The shadow banking system can also include the unregulated activities of regulated financial institutions such as securitization and structured investment vehicles. In effect, shadow banks are financial firms that perform similar functions and assume similar risks to banks but which operate under a much lower level of regulatory oversight. Since shadow banks operate outside the formal banking sector, they generally lack the standard safety nets, such as deposit insurance or access to lender of last resort facilities. It is important to note that the emphasis is on credit intermediation so that, for example, equity, stock and foreign exchange trading are not part of the shadow banking activities. Examples of shadow banking institutions and activities include money market funds, mortgage companies, finance companies, hedge funds, private equity, securitization, structured investment vehicles, asset backed commercial paper and the repo markets.
The shadow banking system is difficult to measure and monitor as it evolves and different countries have different regulatory regimes and financial systems. The Financial Stability Board has both broad and narrow definition for the shadow banking system Whichever definition is employed, there is no question that the size of the shadow banking system rose rapidly in the run up to the financial crisis, it then shrunk during the financial crisis and has started growing again as traditional banks have cut back on lending. The estimated size of the shadow banking sector using the narrow definitiion if now $45.2 trillion according to the FSB. The percentage shares of the 29 jurisdictions are presented below: