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Five years after Lehman, crisis fears linger

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day in New York City.
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day in New York City.

As the five-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse approaches, experts warn that risks of another crisis still linger if regulators fail to get tough on larger banks.

"'Too big to fail' has not been ended five years after the devastating crisis," Dennis Kellerher, president and CEO of Better Markets, told CNBC's Asia "Squawk Box" on Friday.

(Read more: Five years after Lehman, risk moves into shadows)

"It's unlikely to happen on the same scale today. But could it happen in five, ten or fifteen years' time? Absolutely, if we do not regulate these too dangerous to fail banks right, and if we don't actually start enforcing the law against them," he added.

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On September 15, 2008, the collapse of Lehman Brothers - the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history - led global financial markets into the worst crisis since 1929.

While U.S. and European regulators have taken steps to crack down on excessive risk taking in larger banks, and to enforce higher capital requirements, concerns remain that not enough has been done. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, for instance, accused Congress this week of being too lax on forcing U.S. banks to comply with new regulations.

Kellerher of Better Markets said that current market conditions are safer than they were prior to 2008 as the scale of the global financial crisis discouraged excessive risk taking, while regulators increased their focus on banks. However, he noted that risks still exist.

"The JP Morgan Chase 'London whale' blow up demonstrates that whether or not these 'too big to fail' banks think their risk management has changed for the better, they have not," he said. In May of last year a young French trader, nicknamed 'the London whale' accumulated a multi-billion dollar loss on a complex energy trade at the bank.

(Read more: Next crisis would be a 'bad bellyache': AIG chief)

"There is no way anybody can manage [the size of] that bank and manage the risk, which is why you have debacles like the London Whale," he added.

Bert Dohmen, president and founder of Dohmen Capital Research Institute, told CNBC that he sees warning signs in emerging markets that are similar to those he saw prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

"When they [emerging markets] see foreign direct investment... flowing out of the country, that is usually [the] first warning signal that something much more serious may happen," said Dohmen.

Massive capital outflows from countries like India and Indonesia have led to a fallout in emerging markets as investors prepare for the imminent tapering of the Federal Reserve's asset purchase program.

(Read more: Financial crisis price tag nears federal deficit)

Other warning signs include increased speculation in the real estate markets in Asia, and the fact that many Asia billionaires are losing their fortunes, Dohmen said.

"In Asia now, some of the billionaires have lost billions of their wealth just over the last three months. These are the warning signals," he said. "And we saw something similar in 2007 when we warned of a huge financial crisis that will happen in 2008. We kept on hoping that it wouldn't happen, but as you know hope is not a good investment tool."

—By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie

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