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The financial sector — from banks to private equity funds — needs tough new regulations that reduce dangerous risk taking, give consumers greater protections and limit threats to the overall economy, a congressional watchdog panel says.

In a draft report scheduled for release Thursday, the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program spelled out eight urgent needs that it said could help avoid the mistakes that led to the credit crisis at the center of the tanking economy. Two Republican members of the five-member panel dissented from the conclusions and offered their own report.

The panel's majority is calling for identifying and regulating institutions considered "too big to fail" because of their far-flung impact on the economy, increasing supervision of "shadow" markets such as hedge funds and over-the-counter derivatives, and a new system of federal and state regulations of consumer credit products.

It also urges the government to make a diplomatic priority out of establishing global regulatory standards. And it recommends restrictions on executive pay so top company officials are discouraged from taking unnecessary financial risks.

The recommendations come as Congress and President Barack Obama are making a new financial regulatory regime one of their top agenda items. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama met with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top economic advisers Paul Volcker and Lawrence Summers on Wednesday to discuss re-regulating the financial markets.

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