A Global Financial Regulator?

Barney Frank, who will likely take over the House Financial Services Committee if the Democratics win next week, has this to say to the Financial Times about regulatory cooperation:

‘Doesn’t that sound like fun,’ Mr Frank said . . . ‘Joint action is theoretically [good] but what does that mean? In American baseball, if the runner and the ball arrive at the base at the same time, the tie goes to the fielder. Who breaks a tie if there is a disagreement over policy between the SEC and FSA?’

Asked if a supra-national regulator would be needed, he told the Financial Times: ‘I don’t know. At this point that’s something to look into.’

Those are some scary words for folks who are already worried about the federalization of corporate law. About SOX itself, Frank said:

[T]he idea that Sarbox could be more widely applied abroad was “not going to happen” because it was being watered down in the US.

Business and financial leaders in Europe continue to fret about the possibility that Sarbox could find its way to the UK and elsewhere through the back door, such as if a stock exchange in the US acquired one in the UK.

Asked if Europeans were justified of such concerns, Mr Frank said: “It’s not going any further. Six months from now it will be less of a burden for companies than it is today.” His view reflects a belief in Washington that Sarbox should not be changed through Congress.

Instead, the two regulators responsible for overseeing how it is implemented – the SEC and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the accounting watchdog – should clarify how sections of the law should be implemented.

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5 Responses

  1. David S. Cohen says:

    What form of American baseball does Frank watch? Tie goes to the fielder? In what world?

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    David, you ask the kind of question that gets us into dark and deep waters.

    It turns on the interpretation of the official rule, and the meaning of the word “before.” Check out this page for a taste of the dispute.

  3. David S. Cohen says:

    I think the author of that page has it exactly right (other than the comma outside the quote mark): “The portion of the rule in section 6.05 that applies to this states, ‘A batter is out when after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base.’ Since the rule states ‘before’, it is easy to assume that a tie does in fact go to the runner.”

  4. bill says:

    “Tie goes to the runner” is something people say.

    But if you actually watch major league baseball, you will understand that the tie in fact goes to the fielder.

    Its aphorism versus actual umpiring practice.

  5. WHITEPRIDE says: