Nasdaq lobbies for lighter touch to Sarbox rules

A senior director of US stock exchange Nasdaq has admitted that
Sarbanes-Oxley has damaged its ability to attract new listings, adding that the
exchange was frantically lobbying the US authorities to revise the regulatory

Isabella Schidrich, the managing director of Nasdaq International, said it
was surveying clients to assess the impact of the punishing regulations.

‘Sarbox has certainly had an impact on our business. We are surveying clients
on the issue and will take those views to the Securities and Exchange
Commission. Hopefully we will be able to influence the US authorities,’ she said
at an ICAEW corporate finance faculty conference.

Exchanges in the US have lost out to European markets – and the Alternative
Investment Market in particular – as companies have moved to avoid the onerous
requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley. Last year the volumes and values of European
IPOs outstripped US activity for the first time in four years.

In response to this trend,

Nasdaq has been aggressively courting the London Stock Exchange, building up
a 24% stake in the London market, which has grown rapidly because of its lighter
regulatory model.

Related reading