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Too Bad Jet Li Can't Whip Economy Into Shape

Thursday, 29 Jan 2009 | 7:36 AM ET

What's the remedy for Bono-fatigue? The world's foremost martial arts action movie star.

Davos has been drawing celebrities for awhile now, as notable people draw attention to charitable causes. And while the glamour of this year's WEF has been toned down, star power can still rival political clout and certainly banking influence this year.

And China took this spotlight as well.

Martial artist Jet Li is also the founder of the One Foundation, a disaster relief and philanthropic venture that is starting with charity in China.



He stopped by to talk to CNBC, drawing his share of attention on the way up to the platform. A donation of one yuan or dollar a month from as many people as possible is the starting goal, he said.

And he let CNBC's Ross Westgate in on the best defensive weapon he knows: a smile.

Although there will probably be a few more moves than that in his next movie.

The UK set the trend for bank rescues when Prime Minister Gordon Brown took capital stakes in troubled institutions.

The Treasury Department followed, abandoning its initial plan for TARP to buy toxic assets and also moved capital into banks in return for shares. (Whether it returns to toxic purchases or a "bad bank" remains to be seen.)

And now it looks like the Financial Services Authority, the UK version of the SEC, could pave the way for new regulations.

The FSA is looking at a three-pronged approach for regulation, FSA Chairman Lord Adair Turner told CNBC on Davos.

1. A different approach to capital, including a "countercyclical" approach so that capital is built up in the good years. That includes more capital on the trading books.

2. New regulations on liquidity.

3. Ensuring other institutions that act like banks -- or shadow banks -- don't escape the same regulation.

"If it looks like a bank and quacks like a bank, we've got to capitalize it as a bank," Lord Turner said.

One of the toughest questions is how to work out the countercyclical approach to capital, he said. Do you use a formula or leave it more to discretion where regulators say: "We're in a boom time, your capital should be higher than the minimum at this time."

John Studzinski, senior managing director at Blackstone, said the new wave of global regulation will be led by the FSA.

"The FSA is all about taking into account the fact that no two situations are the same," Sudzinski told CNBC.

Companies can "go to the FDA and have a thoughtful, off-the-record, private discussion," he said.