Regulation, Risks and Integrity in the Global Financial Market

Corrado Conti


The availability of ever more highly sofisticated technologies in the handling of the financial system constitutes a leading factor towards the carrying out of a “global” market, in which all interested people, from any place in the world, can operate with hardly any limitation.

Among the various sectors of the system, both the credit and the securities markets benefit from such globalization of the economy.

As far as the credit institutions are concerned, the utilization of modern technologies gave them the opportunity to widen the range of the products they offer their customers, so reducing the diseconomic effects of the bank’s disintermediation process typical of our times. At the same time bank customers obtain better conditions in terms of costs, as well as the availability of products tailored to match their specific needs.

The transformations which have occurred in this sector of the economic system have not created any specific problem of social order, thanks above all to the existence of intermediaries, such as the banks, whose activities and stability are under strict supervision in every legislation.

On the other hand, when we examine what happens in the securities markets under the impact of the technological innovations, it appears evident that the structure of these markets facilitates the insurgence of different risks for the integrity and stability of the same markets.

It is commonly agreed that the efficiency of each securities market is closely related to the degree of disclosure of the various kinds of information the dealings are based on. Any lack, or delay, or misrepresentation in the relevant information, which the market ought to be provided with, produces a distortion in the fixing of the prices for the negotiated securities. As a consequence, most brokers incline to quit that unsafe market.

The utilization of electronic tools for computing as well as for telematic purposes made it possible to build up connections through which information is disseminated and exchanged, in real time, within the financial community. The organization and the extension of the securities markets have greatly benefited from this opportunity.

More recently, it is the Internet which has been widely used for the dissemination of financial information, for the public soliciting of investments in securities, and for the conclusion of dealings on securities. A number of problems has arisen from this practice, some of which of social relevance.

Authorities in this field, whether individual experts of law and of computing, or institutional bodies responsible for regulation and supervision in the securities markets, have made public their observations on this topic and elaborated their own proposals for a global solution. Some national regulators adopted supervisory rules for the activities subject to their jurisdiction.

The release point of my remark is that Internet navigators become potential addressees of communications which may well influence their behaviour, meanwhile escaping all precautionary control, both of a political and legal nature.

Whenever the contents of a communication embody the hypothesis of a solicitation of public savings, the necessity arises to respond to the need of protection which most modern States grant their citizens through the National legislations.

Effective means are to be found to avoid that the new technologies for the dissemination of financial information – which in principle could result favourable to a better knowledge on the part of the investors – are misused in such a way as to create risky or even detrimental opportunities for the same investors. This is likely to happen when no supervision system is feasible or, in any way, enforceable.

It is high time to examine this matter carefully, with an interdisciplinary approach, in order to reach a common view on the possibility of finding a way to protect the citizens of a transnational society, where collective interests are no longer guaranteed by traditional legislations.

The possibility of achieving fairly good results in the aim of protecting the users of the “global financial markets” against attempts to the integrity of the same markets is based on the way the international cooperation is activated.

Only through this kind of cooperation can we hope to work out a project in order to prevent any attempt against the integrity of the global financial market, and to provide the mechanisms through which, in case of failure in the said prevention, the positions affected by illicit behaviour may be restored.