Thursday, December 07, 2006

Chipping Away

In a foolish moment I promised to post something substantive this week on the Interim Report of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation. So here’s Part I of the assignment - my general reaction.

While some suspect the Committee of being a regulation-bashing, reactionary front for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his former employer, I found the report fairly measured and some of its recommendations - though not all - quite sensible. It also makes a compelling case, backed with scary statistics, that in the last five years the U.S. has lost its mojo in world capital markets. Five percent of IPO dollars were raised here in 2005 versus fifty percent in 2000. If there were a show called Global IPO Idol, the U.S. would get voted out before the finals and sit home on the couch eating Pringles whilst the U.K. sang its way to stardom. (I used to work for the Brits and they really do say "whilst," which makes their ascension that much more surprising.)

Some have unkindly pointed out that the document is brimming with ideas that have been reincarnated more times than Shirley MacLaine. True, but who cares? If you complain year after year that "the U.S. regulatory system is complex and highly fragmented,” it will become more and more annoying but no less correct.

Tomorrow’s assignment to myself: Stop screwing around and post about what the damn report actually says, whilst the U.S. is still a sovereign nation and my can of Pringles remains colorful and not colourful.