The recent financial crises in Asia, Russia and Latin America have focussed attention on the effectiveness of the world's 'financial architecture'. The freeing of capital movements and the globalisation of markets have boosted economic growth; but also increased instability and systemic risk. This study examines in detail the workings of the system, and the problems it faces. It looks particularly at risk-management techniques, the difficulties of effective prudential supervision, the situation in developing countries, and the impact of hedge funds and other new financial instruments. It also examines the role of money laundering and other criminal activities. Finally, it makes a number of proposals for reform, both at the international and EU level.