What began as an analysis of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF's) internal surveillance operations quickly morphed into “an exercise of making sure we’re not asleep at the wheel.”
That was the message delivered in a keynote address by Ruben Lamdany, deputy director of the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), as part of CIGI’s signature lecture, “Groupthink and Overconfidence: Predictive Failures in the Global Economic Crisis.”
Lamdany chronicled what amounts to the IMF’s biggest day of reckoning in its nearly seven decades of existence, before joining a panel discussion with CIGI Distinguished Fellow Paul Jenkins and Louis W. Pauly from the Munk School of Global Affairs.
“Was IMF surveillance effective in predicting the financial crisis?” Lamdany posed rhetorically at the outset of the evening. “We all know the answer to that one — no.”
He commended CIGI Executive Director Thomas A. Bernes for initiating the IMF’s period of sober self-reflection in his former role as director of the IEO.
Lamdany outlined highlights from the recent IEO report, “IMF Performance in the Run-Up to the Financial and Economic Crisis,” which focused on IMF surveillance from 2004 to 2007. He explained that the scope of the evaluation report was organized around three key pillars: the fund’s multilateral surveillance, its bilateral surveillance of the US, and its bilateral surveillance of other countries. He added that the report was intended to assess “what went wrong, what could be done better and offer a way forward” to enable better detection of future economic crises.