09 August 2009

Is the US SEC becoming a bit too fat?

The American securities regulator has sought $1.2 billion for its budget next year (a 20% increase in the budget). That is a staggering amount compared to the $15 million odd India's SEBI spends each year. Clearly, with the beating the SEC's reputation has taken over the past nearly decade long period, the extra 20% the SEC is seeking may be of questionable value in terms of output. I'm also not sure an infinitely large regulator is a good think - growth for the sake of growth - in the name of catching more violations. There should be some level of cost benefit analysis done before more money is thrown at the problem.

The other interesting bit the SEC is demanding is ability to control the fees it collects for budgetary use - in other words what SEBI does in India (and the FSA in the UK). Again, I'm not too sure it is such a good model as it reduces political interference but also reduces accountability.See the news on the demand of the SEC chief. See some other criticisms of the self funding proposal in the FT.

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