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FT.com / World - US looks to London for regulatory model

It was probably music to the ears of the City of London luminaries gathered in the ancient Guildhall this week: a top US Treasury official explaining that his country's system of financial regulation might be broken.

After all, London has delighted in watching as stock market listings have, at times, shunned the US in favour of foreign markets, with the City a beneficiary.

Yet David Nason, the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial institutions, had a serious message. The US is contemplating the biggest overhaul of its system of financial regulation since the passage of the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which allowed banks to consolidate commercial and investment banking under one roof.

The US has watched as foreign markets have developed not only mature capital markets but also flexible yet sophisticated regulatory regimes that risk making the US system - with its hodge-podge of overlapping watchdogs and prescriptive rules - look hopelessly outdated.

"Our working assumption is that in this new globalised marketplace we are engaged in a race to the top to achieve the optimal regulatory structure for our financial services industry," said Mr Nason.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:01:37 AM EST
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