Wednesday, June 9, 2010

(No.97) A national regulator & other emails to RickardsRead

As in previous columns presenting excerpts from reader emails to, and for reasons of privacy, I have withheld the email writers' identities unless they wrote in an official capacity. However, in order to provide some context for the views expressed I have preceded each excerpt with a brief reference to the writer's role or connection to the subject.

Words in italics are mine.


Ref. column No. 95 (posted May 30) on
"A national securities regulator: Maybe not"

1. from an advisor to a provincial government:

I share your perplexity with regard to the possible outcome of this saga. The Supreme Court will probably not take a clear cut stand on the issue. Remember its judgement on the right for Quebec to secede.

2. from a former staffer of a provincial securities commission:

I will spare you my reasons for supporting, on balance, a national regulator ....That said, the debate usually draws comparisons with the US but fails to acknowledge that each of the 50 states has its own securities regulator, which generally occupies the front lines in protecting retail investors by responding to local malfeasance. ... And let's not forget that it was state prosecutors, starting with Eliot Spitzer, and not the SEC that accounted for most of the headlines and perp walks involving malfeasance by the stewards of public companies.

There has to be a strong element of local enforcement, backed up by the effective powers to investigate and prosecute white collar crime, especially as it targets retail investors. However, since I do not see Canada sustaining the luxury of parallel provincial and national regulation, I have come down on the side of a national regulator that administers regional enforcement. I am still waiting for evidence of unique local characteristics in the capital markets, apart from the jobs of existing regulators, that justify Alberta's and Quebec's obstruction. ...

Ref. column No. 92 (posted May 16) on RickardsRead:
"Financial executives: more nerve than a canal horse"

3. from a financial advisor active in the life insurance business:

I read and thank you for your latest blog. I'm so glad you take the time to express your thoughts. You are a gifted author.

4. from a person working with a financial services regulator:

I just want you to know that I read your blog all the time. ... By the way, isn't it nice not be censored! You haven't lost your touch.

Ref. column No. 94 (posted May 26) on
"Airport security & political theatre"

5. from a Canadian frequent flyer:

You are right in your commentary. "Form without substance" is what the process has become for the travelling public. Underpaid, untrained and uninterested entrants into the labour market examining and re-examining your boarding pass and passport photo (no smiling allowed).

6. from an American frequent flyer:

I agree with you that security is mostly a charade. The real danger is in cargo where much larger explosives can be hidden.

7. from a Canadian business traveller:

I've often observed the same thing. The government only does something if there's a visibility involved. Security has to be the most difficult job. You have to go through the motions knowing that the need is really very remote.

Ref. column No. 90 (posted May 2) on
"Banks, stability & insurance: the silly & the wise"

8. from a senior executive in a Canadian life insurance company:

Great insight on who should get the credit for the stability of the Canadian financial system.

9. from a senior executive in an American life insurance company:

Great article -- as usual.

Ref. column No. 91 (posted May 6) on
"Escaping dross & drek with The Pallisers"

10. from a regional manager for a Canadian life insurance company:

Awesome, direct -- true!!

11. from Chad Campbell, Acorn Media, NY, distributors of "The Pallisers" DVD set:

Thanks a lot. We really appreciate your recommendation.

Ref. column No. 93 (posted May 21) on
" Raquel Welch & Clare Boothe Luce"

12. from a former financial services executive:

Your last couple of reviews will be the catalyst to get us to Niagara for a weekend of theatre. Can't wait to compare our experience with your insights.

13. from an executive employed by a non-profit institution:

I really appreciate how you and Pat add to my culture while I focus on surviving my hectic schedule. You have no idea how much I enjoy your travel and theatre reviews. Thanks. Keep them coming.

Ref. column No. 87 (posted April 12) on
"Teddy boys & SS costumes"

14. from Susan Ferley, Artistic Director of The Grand Theatre, London, Ontario:

I am delighted you had an opportunity to see The Grand Theatre's production of "Pride and Prejudice". Your positive comments are very much appreciated. It was a strong company -- strong individual performances and great work as an ensemble. How lovely to have The Grand Theatre included with the Shaw Festival in your discussion! And the inclusion of the web address was appreciated too.

Ref. column No. 89 (posted April 25) on
"Maud Lewis & Nena Sanchez, Nova Scotia & Curacao"

15. from a reader of

I was not familiar with either artist and very much enjoyed the links to their respective work. Your summary captures the vibrant nature of these two fine painters.

16. from Ray Cronin, Director & CEO, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax:

Thanks for this. I enjoyed reading your comments.


Alastair Rickard