In addition to Geithner and Bernanke, the council's 10 voting members include the chairmen of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

'Aggregate Picture'

Data is "so critical to regulators to get an aggregate picture," the CFTC's chairman, Gary Gensler, said in a Feb. 17 banking committee hearing.

In some cases, such as assets-to-equity for a publicly traded company, data would come from SEC filings. In other cases, regulators might tap into sources such as money-market mutual fund data gathered by iMoneyNet and Crane Data LLC.

"If size is one of the most important factors, then the odds are a money fund may fall under that category," said Pete Crane, president of the Westborough, Massachusetts-based money- fund research firm. "But mutual funds overall have a good chance of not being systemically important."

U.S. bank holding companies with more than $50 billion in assets--including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.--are automatically eligible to be designated systemically important.

Regulators have had little public discussion of how they might collect new categories of data. At the Feb. 17 hearing, Bernanke indicated that an annual industry-wide assessment would fit with the council's mandate.

"It makes sense that there be an annual review of all the major financial sectors to try to identify any emerging problems or developments in those sectors," Bernanke said.

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