We who work in a highly cyclical global business should
recognise better than most that if you look carefully enough,
cycles can be deciphered in many unrelated subjects. Regulation is
clearly one of these.
And last week's action against Standard Chartered Bank by Ben Lawsky, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), would have been a rude awakening for anyone still doubting whether the grand pendulum that spent most of the 1980s and 1990s swinging towards deregulation and an unobtrusive, apolitical principles-based approach had reversed back towards re-regulation, prescription and political interventionism.
Lawksy has been a financial regulator for less than a year, but he seems to have learned pretty fast on the job.
The DFS was formed last year from the merger of banking and insurance supervisory departments, which gives the superintendent far greater regulatory clout than your average insurance commissioner.
Power and influence also tend to gravitate in the greatest quantity towards those most prepared to exercise it.
The shades of a certain Mr Spitzer are everywhere. Lawsky is clearly a highly ambitious, highly political public servant who is not shy of rattling corporate cages and publicly challenging vested interests.
His intervention may have taken some at the Securities and Exchange Commission and US Department of Justice by surprise, but given our industry's past experience of that former New York Attorney General we should not have been caught napping.
As a prime regulator in the most influential state for financial services within the world's largest insurance market, Mr Lawsky is someone we will have to get used to dealing with directly.
Now would clearly be an opportune time to get to know one's New York regulator a little better.
Meanwhile, increased regulatory intrusion is not just a New York phenomenon. In London the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has been baring its teeth far more aggressively since the financial crisis began.
The fast-approaching advent of the new Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority - the "twin peaks" UK financial regulators that will replace the FSA - only doubles the likelihood that new incumbents, anxious to make their marks, will play a greater amount of politics.
We should expect that, rather like a referee early on in a big match, our new arbiters of prudence and conduct will award a series of fouls with alarming strictness to make it clear to all the players who is in charge.
Meanwhile, the ongoing Libor scandal, JP Morgan's whale and the Mexican money laundering case at HSBC have only upped the stakes.
London's reputation as a trusted global financial centre is under the spotlight and regulators will feel political pressure to be seen to act decisively.
The Financial Services Bill is currently making its way through the UK legislature and an opportunity is available to lawmakers to codify a proportionate and reasonable approach to regulation and supervision that will prevent our regulatory bodies from becoming political platforms.
Offshore jurisdictions may have been in retreat since the global financial crisis highlighted their disadvantages compared to nations with larger economies and greater financial firepower, but packs of Lawskys on both sides of the Atlantic would do much to reverse this.
We are not currently optimistic that the temptation to score short-term UK political points against a financial services sector that has never been held in lower public esteem will not trump a longer-term desire to get regulation right in London.
But the opportunity is clearly available for London to signal that the high watermark for re-regulation has now been reached and to act with proportion and impartiality at this crucial time.