Sen. Chuck Schumer says he could be all for Deutsche Borse buying the New York Stock Exchange … so long as the New York Stock Exchange name comes first. “The New York Stock Exchange is one of the most trusted, preeminent brands in the financial world, with cachet that money simply cannot buy,” Schumer said.
While Schumer philosophizes over what’s in a name — “a lot,” he says — New York slowly loses its financial “cachet,” in part because the public, free, fair, and transparent markets that New York once represented have deteriorated.
Consider that Deutsche Borse isn’t buying NYSE for its American stock-trading floor, but for its derivatives businesses. NYSE and DB already run these operations from London and Continental Europe, where they’ll stay and grow.
No matter what the NYSE calls itself, America is going to have a hard time competing for this derivatives business, especially since the new regulations Schumer et. al. imposed on derivatives through last year’s Dodd-Frank law have added uncertainty to derivatives trading without addressing the risk that these improperly regulated instruments can pose to the economy.
After 2008, Congress should have swiftly — swiftly meaning faster than now — directed regulators to impose some simple capital and disclosure requirements on derivatives markets so that their participants could get on with life.
Instead, we’ve created a regulatory morass based on discretion and crony-capitalism favoritism and given a huge opening to Europe.
Of course, Europe hasn’t gotten derivatives quite right either. And if we staked our future on doing the right thing, we might lose business in the short term, as financial firms would rather maintain opacity and its big fees elsewhere.
Over time, though, investors would remember why they desired free financial markets in the first place, and come back to America.
Instead, we’re losing business, and losing sight of our free-market ideals, hardly a good combination.
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