Regling earned his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Hamburg in 1971 and his master's in economics from the University of Regensburg in 1975. In 1975 he started working for the international Monetary Fund. He was hired as an economist for the German Ministry of Finance in 1981. Regling was appointed Director General of the European Commission's economic and Financial Affairs directorate in 2001. On July 1, 2010 he began his current role as head of the European Financial Stability Facility.