The Financial Services Authority is working on a new framework to govern the liquidity, as well as solvency, of banks and other financial institutions it supervises along with the Treasury and the Bank of England.
Northern Rock, while solvent, had to turn to the Bank for emergency help last autumn when the credit crunch deprived it of access to liquid funds to replace lines of credit due for repayment.
The FSA has been strongly criticised received strong criticism for failing to spot the weakness in Northern Rock's funding, which relied overwhelmingly on the credit markets rather than retail deposits.
The FSA raised the issue yesterday in its business plan for its coming year, noting that 2008/09 looks likely to throw up many regulatory challenges.
"We are conscious that the coming year presents more difficulties and uncertainties than we have faced in recent times," said chief executive Hector Sants.
"The uncertainty in the market place means we must be flexible and ready to re-prioritise our plans, shifting resources should the need arise.
"The outcome of the follow-up initiatives arising from the various reviews of Northern Rock is also likely to cause us to reassess our priorities for the year.
"A successful regulator needs to be both nimble in reaction to immediate events and determined in embedding into its institutional memory the lessons learnt from the past."
As well as its work on bank regulation, the FSA will publish a report on firms' systems and controls for managing the risk of consumers' data being lost or stolen.
It will also seek to increase penalties from breaches of its rules with a strategy seeking to achieve credible deterrence.
The FSA said firms should expect more supervisory attention to their funding and liquidity arrangements and the adequacy of their stress testing.
They need to have a comprehensive view of all the possible demands on liquidity that could arise from various sources and develop plans to meet those demands, the FSA added. They should also maintain an emergency supply of cash. The regulator said methods for dealing with data theft and money laundering will be examined.