Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Mitchell Brock

First Page



In approaching the subject of securities regulation in selected European countries, I will not attempt to provide a detailed description of the existing arrangements in the principal European countries. I shall of course to some degree descend to the "nitty gritty" of concrete details to give to airy generalizations a local reality, but my principal objective will be to discuss the economic context, the structure of the capital markets in which the regulatory authorities are performing their functions.

This economic context is pertinent to an understanding of why the pattern of regulation differs in many respects from that existing in the United States. It bears also on the extent of regulation in particular areas and on the manner in which it is carried out and helps one to understand why regulatory arrangements that would be inadequate under conditions existing in the United States can more adequately deal with the problems with which they have to deal in their own countries. Finally, an understanding of the economic conditions is of use in understanding emerging regulatory problems and considering lines of possible evolution. And there will be evolution. The winds of change are at work.

The presentation that I shall make will largely ignore political and historical factors affecting the evolution of securities regulation in Europe. These are certainly highly relevant, but the consideration of them would extend excessively this inquiry. Moreover, even with regard to the economic context, my presentation must of necessity be incomplete and subject to qualification as applied to any particular country.

I propose further to focus primarily on certain generalizations about the capital markets in the Common Market countries as compared with the United States. While I shall occasionally refer to conditions in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Sweden, the peculiarities of these important capital markets are sufficiently distinctive that were I to be equally concerned with them, it would be difficult to make any meaningful generalizations at all.