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SEC’s Jackson criticizes stock exchanges, promises reforms

Joe Mont | September 21, 2018

The time has come to reform America’s stock markets. That was the message from Robert Jackson of the Securities and Exchange Commission during a speech Wednesday at George Mason University. 

Regulators, he said, must remember that market participants will follow the economic incentives given to them. “Given power and a profit motive, even the most storied institutions will do what they must to maximize their wealth,” he said. “Nowhere has this been more true than in our stock markets.”

For over a century, stock exchanges were collectively owned by not-for-profits, overseeing and organizing trading in America’s best-known companies. About a decade ago, however, they “became private corporations, designed—perhaps even obligated—to maximize profits,” Jackson said.

“Yet we at the SEC have far too often continued to treat the exchanges with the same kid gloves we applied to their not-for-profit ancestors,” he added. “The result is that, even while one of our...

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