Wrapping it up, 6 April 2007

The Financial Times and Legal Week yesterday published five interesting articles altogether, all relating to capital markets competitiveness. Two of the three FT ones deal with the Financial Services Authority and the ‘light touch’ regulatory regime (here and here), the third (here) is based on an interview with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Chairman H. Rodgin Cohen; the ten-minute interview itself is available online (here, with full transcript).

The (WV&Z edited) answer to the question whether Cohen ‘is concerned that New York is losing its place as the premier global financial centre’:

I am concerned. It still is the premier centre but if you look at the enormous strides that London has made and you look at the two lines, if you extend them out, sooner or later they are likely to cross… [T]here are problems with New York which deal, largely, more with the litigation atmosphere than even the legislative atmosphere that ultimately do threaten and you could reach a tipping point.

The first Legal Week article (here) reports on New York lawyers calling for further changes to follow the SEC’s rule change regarding de-listing; the second (here) discusses ‘recent developments [that] have brought class actions a step closer to Europe’.

And finally, two more articles of last month, in The Times and The Lawyer, on US class actions ’still [being] a bigger threat to British business’ and on UK pension funds’ Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) opt-out action success. Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll PLLC is the focus of criticism in the former - note, this is two days after the same paper labelled partner Michael Hausfeld a ’star’ and ‘litigation supremo’ (see previous post) - and in the latter, Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP is the subject as counsel to the pension funds.

London-based Allen & Overy LLP partner Peter Watson quoted in The Times:

Companies should be wary of the long arm of the US law reaching into foreign boardrooms and hauling British companies - or individual executives - before American courts… US courts tend to take the view that if foreign companies come to the US to enjoy the benefits it has to offer, then they should also accept the costs of doing business there which means answering to the American legal system where appropriate.

What’s more: The author of the The Times article, a journalist with the paper’s Law section, responded to this post. In his e-mail he offers a clarification - “Although owned by the same group, the Sunday Times and Times are not the same paper from an editorial point of view” - and the following statement:

I don’t believe CMHT is the “focus of criticism” in the story I did. I simply mention their arrival in London as part of a broader movement towards more US-style litigation in Europe.

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