Monday, November 13, 2006

SEC and UK FSA chairs to speak at IOSCO Technical Committee Conference in London

This week, the leaders of the world's largest financial markets will meet in London at the 3rd annual "Technical Committee Conference" of the International Organization of Securities Commissions. The host will be Callum McCarthy, chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority. The conference is designed to be a venue for industry leaders to meet with and discuss regulatory issues with the leaders of the world's securities markets, in an appropriately fancy setting. The conference itself will be held at the mega-posh Savoy Hotel.

Interestingly, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox will present the event's keynote address. Cox will be the first SEC chairman to attend an IOSCO event outside the United States since Arthur Levitt. (Callum McCarthy himself very rarely attends IOSCO meetings, perhaps reflecting his general disdain for the international organization.)

Given the tensions between the UK FSA and the US SEC, expect Cox and McCarthy to take very polite, very well-concealed jabs at each other in their respective speeches. Both will say very nice things about international cooperation and the globalization of national securities markets. McCarthy likely will say something about how regulation must be "balanced" and "cost-effective" (in contrast to the U.S.), while subtlely pointing out how successful the London Stock Exchange has been. Cox probably will say something about the need to protect investors while being "adaptable," as shown by the SEC's plans to change how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is being implemented. He might also say something about how securities regulators around the world should be careful to avoid undercutting each others' regulation or else face a "race to the bottom" (by which he'll mean the UK).

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