|JOAN M. VEON, CFP|
FREELANCE INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST
DATELINE: MONTREAL (QUEBEC) CANADA Thursday, September 19, 1996
To many people the rather obscure 21st meeting of the International Organization of Securities Commissions-IOSCO, means nothing, yet every single penny of their monies is and will be affected by the outcome of it. Most people have a mutual fund or a stock which they purchased from a stock broker who is a member of stock brokerage firm such as Merrill Lynch or from the mutual fund itself. Both the brokerage firm and the mutual fund are registered by the New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Security Dealers--NASDAQ, as well as state authorities. It is the Security and Exchange Commission which has been given the mandate to regulate the activities of these investment bodies.
Meeting in Montreal for the week of September 15 to the 20th are six hundred securities regulators from 70 countries who are involved in the management of capital markets from around the world. Due to the "globalization process" which allows people to invest overseas more easily, a need has arisen for a supra-global entity to bring together the securities regulators of the world into one forum. According to Jean Paul Cristal, Assistant Secretary-General of IOSCO, they consider themselves a "United Nations of Security Regulators." IOSCO began as the Interamerican Regional Committee in the mid-70's and then in 1983 went global.
According to Mr. Eudald Canadell, Security General of IOSCO, "The unprecedented growth in the securities and derivatives business of the last decade, the increasing internationalization of trading and the development of securities markets to help finance emerging economies in numerous countries have substantially changed the environment in which financial activity is carried on worldwide. Globalization, integration of financial services, extensive use of complex new products to facilitate risk management...[call for] extensive international cooperation....IOSCO is at the hearth of this global cooperative effort."
Arthur Levitt, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, called IOSCO, "the single organization that brings together securities regulators from around the world." He states that "There has never been a greater need for us to work together. We regulate one of the most innovative industries on the face of the earth, whose main commodity--capital--has little regard for national borders." He went on to state that there was a time when it took days to buy a stock but today, it can be done in minutes. Security regulators of such dynamic markets must also be "creative and fast- moving...and come up with new approaches for addressing the challenges presented by [global] markets....With today's challenges of new products, new techniques and new technologies, we must expand our cooperation to cover regulatory issues beyond enforcement." Mr. Levitt stated that "technology and globalization are bringing our markets together; through IOSCO, we regulators can also come together...as our goals are the same: building markets that will finance economic growth and development, and maintaining the highest standards of investor protection."
PRESS RELEASE --JOAN VEON---MONTREAL, CANADA--SEPTEMBER 19,1996 Page TWO
Indeed, all of the new investment products, derivatives and market "safety" are regulated by IOSCO. They are working on a number of projects which include the development of an international accounting system, IAS, to be completed by 1999 which will be used in "cross border" trading and for listing stocks in all global markets, an international standards of auditing to help with auditing securities firms worldwide, the regulation of markets, enforcement and exchange of information between regulators through Memorandums of Understanding. In 1995, 200 MOU's were signed with another 300 on Tuesday.
According to Mr. Alan Cameron, Securities Commissioner for Australia, it is the international capital markets which brings together NAFTA, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the emerging markets of the world.
It was the Group of Seven Finance Ministers in 1995 who asked IOSCO to come up with ways to better track the global markets through surveillance in order to ensure that a Barings Bank does not happen again.
Lastly, IOSCO has formed a "Joint Forum on Financial Conglomerates" in 1995 to enhance international cooperation and coordination in the supervision of these conglomerates which are comprised of securities firms, insurance companies and banks. The three agencies involved in this tripartite are IOSCO, the Bank for International Settlements, Committee on Banking Supervision, and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors which was also formed in 1995.
IOSCO has been called "an embryonic global regulatory system." Based on what they have done and what they want to do, the writer feels that is an adequate description given the fact that trillions of dollars can trade around the world in a day negating national borders.....
In a speech given by Mr. Edward J. Waitzer, Chairman of the Ontario Securities commission, he referred to the fact that John Reed of Citicorp points out "that the 'stock of capital' that supports the population of people living in Japan, Europe and North America is between $50,000 and $60,000 per capita. It will cost West Germany about $50,000 per capita to bring ex-East Germany up to a comparable living standard." Extrapolating from there, it implies that it will take $66T to bring China up to the "developed" level with Southeast Asia needing another $18T and $500B just for Cuba.