Time for a Second Look at US Markets


The fifth anniversary of the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act last month should have been toasted by those of generous spirit in the City of London as it has given the UK a

significant boost in its rivalry with New York. Less giving types would do well to take stock because this year also marks a turning point in US market regulation that could restore some of New York’s traditional swagger.

Complaints about the US regulatory regime have been building for some time. But in the past 12 months they took on a new level of seriousness, with speeches by US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a report by Senator Charles Schumer and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and

hearings on Capitol Hill.

Although studies of the Nasdaq versus Alternative Investment Market variety have made claims that

the US public markets have outperformed London, these have a defensive tone to them that betrays a fear of lost dominance.

At the same time, corporate scandals have receded somewhat in the public mind and the big US stock exchanges have become entwined with Europe - the NYSE through Euronext and Nasdaq through its LSE investment and mooted combination with OMX. Together, these factors have created a more favourable environment for deregulation.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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