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Securities law reform breakfast

  • December 16th, 2009

Off to the Holiday Inn this morning for the breakfast announcement of the Cameron Task Force’s recommendations. I fear yet more securities law reform though I expect  some if it will be defensible, unlike the stupidities piled on stupidity of the last 10 years. 

10 years of change and expansion have nearly all been substitutes for determined and efffective enforcement of existing and longstanding law against dishonesty in its various forms. The dumb investment adviser regime is probably the worst. A few simple changes to the Secret Commissions Act, a bit of steel in the Securities Commission, a few dollars to the right places in the Police or the Serious Fraud Office, a few high profile low-life advisers in prison and 80% of the problem would have been fixed at 10% of the cost ot the scores of millions now being wasted on the new regime. Better still it would avoid the collateral damage to financial literacy now inevitable as New Zealanders learn to their astonishment that the law makes it illegal for most of their fellow New Zealanders who know the most about money and investing to even respond to questions about matters financial in social conversation, let alone give advice, even if it is free. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

All in charge have preferred to wail about inadequate powers and to offer ever more misleading promises of "protection" and "confidence" if only their rules were "strengthened" and expanded.

Instead of tackling the lawyer bog that has put the courts out of contemplation for remedying commercial wrongs of all stripes (the scummy pond of securities law is only one corner of this morass)  they’ve twiddled and reviewed and investigated and flown in experts from other failure countries, and rustled through the their boxes of excuses. Then they’ve poured out massive new books of rules – anything rather than ensure the simple enforcement of the ones they already had.

I’ll eat what I fear will be the inevitable danishes, hoping for the best but fearing an intellectual dog’s breakfast.



[…] Stephen Franks blogs on securities law reform. […]

  • anonymous coward
  • December 18th, 2009
  • 11:07 am

I was astonished at he reluctance of my fellow shareholders to act decisively to put a small company that was failing out of its misery.

This company was not a company whose shareholders were treated as cannon fodder by the directors as with Hanover, but a company whose attempts to make money from a leading edge technology turned into a company losing money in a bleeding edge technology.

The shareholders denial, reluctance to take decisive action and wish to hold on when all reasonable hope of a reversal of fortune was gone is the same attitude I observed in the media from Hanover investors.

This has brought me to the conclusion that most people are temperamentally unsuited to be successful investors.

  • anonymous coward
  • December 18th, 2009
  • 11:13 am

Hi me again.

I agree with your conclusions that a lack of will on the part of enforcement agencies has not helped clean up ‘Dodge’.

A few of what the Americans call ‘perp walks’ would do wonders.

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