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Global Approach to Securities?

MARKETWATCH

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REGULATORS of securities markets around the world are seeking greater consistency in their regulations - a ``level playing field'' to make global competition more fair. Officials of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) last week in Montreal prepared a common approach to assessing the capital adequacy of securities brokers. The exact details are being closely guarded until the group meets Sept. 18-21 in Venice.

The IOSCO's deliberations come in response to calls for action in the global securities markets akin to the international regulation of banking that has been under way for more than 15 years now.

Though international securities trading has grown in recent years, there is decided diversity among countries when it comes to regulation, as international brokerage houses can attest.

``What we've got to do is figure out some way of harmonizing registration requirements, listing requirements, disclosure requirements, new issue requirements - all these things are vastly different among the major securities markets around the world,'' says Robert Hormats, vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs International. ``Some degree of consistency is probably necessary.''

``The uniformity question is what's most interesting in this exercise,'' agrees Scott Pardee, co-chairman, Yamaichi International (America) Inc.

A possible nudge toward more uniform standards of global regulation has come from the White House. President Bush announced last week that he would nominate Richard Breeden, a key adviser on the savings-and-loans bailout, to be the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Mr. Breeden and Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, support the effort to harmonize international trading in securities.

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