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Univ. of Toledo College of Law

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Atkins on SEC Regulation

Excerpts from SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins' speech at Finance Dublin:

[discussing the three recent reports discussing the competitiveness of US capital markets]

Although the perspectives and findings of each group were unique, there is a common thread of very important SEC-related issues among them. Among other things, each report recommended: (1) quick and substantial changes to the rules and guidance implementing section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, (2) streamlined and coordinated regulatory processes that require meaningful cost benefit analyses, and (3) involvement jointly by the President's Working Group (which is made up of the Secretary of the Treasury and the chairmen of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission) to provide transparency and predictability in the enforcement process.

We at the SEC cannot and should not ignore these findings and recommendations. We must clear the cobwebs and incorporate how the world has changed through technology and innovation when we consider whether to shed some of our weighty regulatory precedent. We need to ask ourselves a question that Secretary Paulson has recently posed: "Have we struck the right balance between investor protection and market competitiveness - a balance that assures investors the system is sound and trustworthy, and also gives companies the flexibility to compete, innovate, and respond to changes in the global economy?"The reports can help us answer this question.

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