New York Says London is Too Lax on Stock Listings of Russian Companies

Today the Times of London reported on comments made by NYSE Chief John Thain criticizing London’s lax rules for taking Russian companies public:

Less than a month after a commissioner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) courted controversy by likening London’s junior Alternative Investment Market (AIM) to a casino, Mr Thain appeared to make an implicit criticism of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) for pursuing numerous listings of Russian and former Soviet Union companies. Speaking in Paris yesterday before the formal launch of the merged NYSE Euronext group today, Mr Thain said: “I am very concerned about the quality of corporate governance, the transparency of company financials and the protection of minority shareholders. A number of Russian companies raise serious questions around these issues.” … Last month, Roel Campos, an SEC commissioner, caused controversy by criticising AIM. He said: “I’m concerned that 30 per cent of issuers that list on AIM are gone in a year. That feels like a casino to me. It is a losing proposition to tout lower standards as a way to promote your markets.” Mr Campos also suggested that the LSE would suffer because of AIM’s lax regulation. He said: “There’s also a danger with higher standards; if it’s too affiliated with an exchange that has lower standards, it gets painted with the same brush.”