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Monday, September 08, 2008

A torrent of regulation

The Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation is a great outfit, which - amongst other things - tries to keeps tabs on Brussels regulation of the City.

Their bulletins make depressing reading. Their post-summer round up talks about the torrent of legislation they will discuss at their next meeting:

What have our representatives been up to? A skim through recent press cuttings reveals:

- new proposals to regulate the rating agencies (July 8);

- ideas for better governance of the IASB (July 8); and

- the formal go-ahead for Target-2 S, unwanted and un-needed though it may be (July 17).

Looking ahead, we have Solvency II, UCITS, SEPA, revision of the Collateral and Settlement Finality Directives, revisions to the CRD, new proposals on transparency, valuation of complex products and risk management etc etc. And (according to Graham Bishop), the shake-up in the Parliament, particularly on ECON, is likely to be bigger than we had expected. In other words, business as usual.

All that's just in one area of the economy, over a couple of months. It represents a huge stream of costly - and quite possibly unhelpful - legislation.

We took stock of new EU financial regulations a while back and there are some serious problems - not least a price tag of up to £23.5 billion for the most recent tranche of legislation.

But instead of correcting its mistakes, the regulatory "machine" just spits out more and more laws.

One of the most important ideas in politics - the idea of laissez-faire - seems to be completely alien to Brussels.

Unless it can discover it, the Union is doomed to death by a thousand regulations.

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