Financial Update (Second Quarter 2008)

Atlanta Fed Conference Examines Reforms

FMC logo Academics, policymakers, and market practitioners gathered in mid-May to discuss the status and future of financial market reforms at the Atlanta Fed's annual Financial Markets Conference at Sea Island, Ga.

Topics explored included Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance requirements; investor activism; Regulation FD, which aims to level the informational playing field among institutional investors, analysts, and individual investors; and the likelihood of a global, round-the-clock capital market emerging.

Results inconclusive on Sarbanes-Oxley
Regarding Sarbanes-Oxley, the consensus from the gathering was that research conducted thus far has yielded mixed results regarding the law's effects on companies and investors. The discussions also pointed out the reality that market forces are continually evolving in response to regulation, innovation, and other events or phenomena.

2007 Financial Markets Conference
Agenda and conference papers
Audio icon Podcast on market reforms (MP3 6:12)

Regulation oversees complex marketplace
For example, the rapid advance of technology has eroded the traditional monopoly power of financial exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange. Today, almost anyone can trade virtually any financial instrument from almost anywhere, giving rise to a complex array of trading platforms, joint ventures, and alliances among market participants that are extremely difficult to regulate.

Papers delivered at the conference included "SOX at Five Years: A Good Long-Term Investment?" "Fair Disclosure: Leveling the Playing Field"; "Investor Activism: Reshaping the Playing Field"; and "The Market That Never Sleeps: How Do We Get There?"


June 25, 2008