Monday, January 29, 2007

RE: Why is New York declining vs London as a financial center

Here is a link to a paper that seems relevant to the subject titled "An American Perspective on the U.K. Financial Services Authority: Politics, Goals & Regulatory Intensity."

Written by a Howell E. Jackson of Harvard Law School in August 2005, the abstract states "Professor Jackson discusses deeper differences in the regulatory philosophies of the two countries and also presents data on the relative intensity of financial regulation in both jurisdictions. He speculates that the comparatively more ambitious regulatory agenda of the U.S. system pushes the country towards a more elaborate system of financial oversight that is inherently more difficult to consolidate. In the United Kingdom, in contrast, the goals of the financial regulators are more modest and, to the extent that cost efficiency is one of the country's regulatory objectives in the field of financial regulation, that policy tends to foster a less cumbersome system of financial regulation that more easily accommodates consolidation of regulatory functions. The paper concludes with some broader comparative data suggesting that while British financial regulation may be less intensive than financial regulation in the United States, it is substantially more intensive than financial regulation in many other jurisdictions, particularly civil law jurisdictions on the Continent."

My reading of the abstract is that UK regulators regulate less because at least in part the UK wants to spend less on regulation, and that UK regulators essentially know they are going to catch fewer cheaters. My opinion is that if a company avoids listing on US exchanges because US regulations will make it harder to obfuscate the true financial condition of the company, then that is a good thing.

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