Multiple shocks have led regulators and policy makers to put increasing faith in the diagnostic and prophylactic powers of international financial standards, but the nature, appropriateness and normative force of such standards varies. As a standard setter, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has pursued global consensus, harmonization and international best practices for many years. Recently, however, the internationalization of US issues and standards by IOSCO has been disrupted by rising EU regulatory action and associated unilateralism. Whereas international standards are often created under suboptimal conditions by actors with a broad range of motivations, assumptions and biases, frictions between state-level regulation and international standards can undermine their effectiveness. Greater discernment should be exercised by state-level policy makers, international financial institutions and the international organizations themselves in proposing, deploying and implementing international standards.