18 February 2009

Priorities For Securities Regulation

A paper by Tamar Frankel has some thoughtful ideas on setting priorities for regulatory examinations of companies.

(1) Examine more frequently when market prices rise (not when the have fallen);

(2) Examine entities that are too large to fail; those that are highly leveraged; those whose shares-prices rise steadily with little or no fluctuation; and entities that have obtained exemptions from regulation.

(3) Examiners should search for violations of the law (and the spirit of the law), but not economic or financial rationalizations.

(4) Examiners should be experts, highly paid and incentivized to remain in government employ. Expert information about the markets will hopefully reduce the impact of bubbles and inevitable crashes and the loss of investors trust that decimates the financial system.

The second point is particularly worthwhile.

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