Coping in a Global Marketplace: Survival Strategies for a 75-Year-Old SEC

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The most up-to-date version of this piece can be found in the Duke Law Scholarship

published at, 95 Virginia Law Review 941 (2009), University of Virginia conference celebrating the 75th anniversary of the SEC


Notwithstanding cynicism to the contrary, data bears witness to the fact that government agencies come and go. There are multiple causes that give rise to their disappearance but among the most powerful is that conditions that first gave rise to the particular agency's creation no longer exist so that the regulatory needs that once prevailed are no longer present or that there is a better governmental response than Congress' earlier embraced when it initially created an independent regulatory agency to address the problems needing to be addressed. Certainly the more rigid the regulatory authority conferred on an agency has much to do with its ability to survive changes in the social, economic, commercial and scientific forces that shape its environment. One of the great illustrations of the vibrancy of the regulatory agency model, and particularly the notion of equipping such an agency with "quasi-legislative" authority through broad enabling statutes, is the Securities and Exchange Commission. But can an agency created and operating through most of its years in the internationally insulated environment of U.S. capital markets survive in a world that is light years away from the environment that existed a few years ago, not to mention 75 years ago when the SEC was created?

Date of Authorship for this Version



regulatory agency model, SEC, globalization, accounting standards, mandatory disclosure