Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Securities Market Watchdogs Yapping at Visitors

Securities Market Watchdogs Yapping at Visitors

Friday 14 Mar 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Commerce

Having multiple watchdogs comment on the Vertex prospectus is likely to reduce market confidence and renew calls for a bigger dog, ACT Associate Commerce Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Meanwhile, fewer honest people will want to be around the market in case they get bitten - although the watchdogs have generally yapped without biting anyone," Mr Franks said.

"I have no quarrel with the Securities Commission's conclusions. But I do question the waste of resources in reviewing 3,500 documents, and keeping a club full of lawyers and accountants busy, when the Market Surveillance Panel was already looking at related issues.

"The issues should be simple - if no Vertex people were dishonest, planned to mislead, or knew they were misleading, it should be the end of formal regulatory involvement. That's what the Securities Commission, and apparently the Market Surveillance Panel, concluded.

"Regulators must draw a clear distinction between dishonesty or deliberate deception, and poor judgment. They must make it clear why foolishness and carelessness are not matters for the criminal law, otherwise directors and shareholders will see even more of their time and resources being used in regulatory crying over spilt milk. When there is no blood to show investors at the end, they feel the watchdogs are toothless.

"The Government's new "co-regulation" scheme will guarantee we get more of this kind of doubling up. Political pressure to show bite marks will increase.

The wrong lessons will be drawn - pay even more to accountants, lawyers and other consultants to get back covering certifications. They may add nothing to shareholder value, or even to certainty in forecasts, and only mean directors are safer from liability.

"The Vertex saga warns what happens when competing watchdogs scrap over the same bone. Without giving any clear indication of what it was dissatisfied with, the NZSE Board undermined confidence in its own Panel. A few days later it issued a jargon riddled statement about revamping its `regulatory construct'".

"The NZSE and the Securities Commission new Memorandum of Understanding has thousands of words about co-operating. All it really means is the Securities Commission can micro-manage what the Exchange is doing. The net effect is that the Commission has regulatory oversight of the NZSE watchdog, but plainly intends to bark as well.

"Both organisations seem set on frightening visitors more than burglars. They are discussing changes to the kennel and the length of the chain, when the decision needed is whether to breed a bit more Alsatian into the Labrador already there.

"Plans for law changes, strategic groups, consultation and regulatory investigation are excuses for not finding the egregious cases and hitting them hard. Both bodies have powers they rarely, if ever, use. They would restore confidence in integrity by ensuring they use their powers against fraud and dishonesty, and hard, instead of against the carelessness, or over-optimism investors expect anyway," Mr Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them.

Finally, yesterday’s announcement by the Ardern government that a new state agency will be set up to assess and plan the manned re-entry to the mine (on a set timetable) goes a long way to meeting the families’ remaining request: that they be enabled, if at all possible, to bury their loved ones. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election