It was the worst of times. Desititute farmers and unemployed labourers would travel westerly in search of better climates hoping to find work. Many ended up in Calgary, Alberta but upon arrival would be given a free train ticket from the government…encouraged to keep on going to Vancouver and warmer weather where they and their descendants remain today.
Vancouver became a hotbed of suspicious characters promoting shady stock deals, often these characters had no fixed address – co-incidence? Most stayed put, although those who were caught and threatened with legal or bodily harm usually moved their ‘business’ dealings to Germany.
In more recent times, these self-described ‘entrepreneurs’ increasingly became the target of regulators. With a passion resembling religious zeal, regulators began policing all things having to do with securities. Of course, the purge inflicted upon the securities industry in general did more harm to legitimate investment dealers and managers – since they were remarkably easy to locate (they have fixed addresses) – than the new rules did to crooks. The crooks simply continued doing what they do, and borderline crooks simply repackaged their offerings (‘hedging’ themselves).
A final solution was proposed. If the TSX and and its less mature sibling the TSX Venture Exchange (where most of the Vancouver promoters conducted their business) were to MERGE with the London Stock Exchange, then perhaps the descedants of those destitute wanderers would finally pack up their cellphones and laptop presentations and move to merry ol’ England where the pickings are far more lucrative.
It’s such a great plan that the New York Stock Exchange, anxious to have the same sort of sheisters move out of Jersey off to Europe, decided it should merge with the Deutsche Boerse. And even Australia, welcomes the idea of using a ‘merger of exchanges’ as the best way to have less savoury stock promoters emigrate to Singapore.
What is the risk associated with all this? I fear that if the shadier element in these countries does move away to greener pastures, then the regulators left behind will have no option but to impose even harsher treatment on law abiding investment investment industry practitioners. One day, there may be demonstrations – mirroring those we witnessed in Egypt – of brokers, financial planners, mutual fund and hedge fund managers parading on Wall Street and Bay Street demanding freedom.
PS – If you lack a sense of humour, I apologize.