In my essay Corporate Governance and U.S. Capital Market Competitiveness (October 22, 2010), available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1696303, I explained that:
During the first half of the last decade, evidence accumulated that the U.S. capital markets were becoming less competitive relative to their major competitors. The evidence reviewed herein confirms that it was not corporate governance as such that was the problem, but rather corporate governance regulation. In particular, attention focused on such issues as the massive growth in corporate and securities litigation risk and the increasing complexity and cost of the U.S. regulatory scheme.
Tentative efforts towards deregulation largely fell by the wayside in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-2008. Instead, massive new regulations came into being, especially in the Dodd Frank Act. The competitive position of U.S. capital markets, however, continues to decline.
This essay argues that litigation and regulatory reform remain essential if U.S. capital markets are to retain their leadership position. Unfortunately, the article concludes that federal corporate governance regulation follows a ratchet effect, in which the regulatory scheme becomes more complex with each financial crisis. If so, significant reform may be difficult to achieve.
If you believed the Obama administration and the Democrats' hyoe, the JOBS Act was going to solve the problem. They were wrong, according to a new study by some economists (which I'm more inclined to accept that ones done by law professors masquerading as quants):
We examine the effects of Title I of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS) for a sample of 213 EGC IPOs issued between April 5, 2012 and April 30, 2014. We show no reduction in the direct costs of issuance, accounting, legal, or underwriting fees, for EGC IPOs. Further, the indirect cost of issuance, underpricing, is significantly higher for EGCs than other IPOs. More importantly, greater underpricing is present only for larger firms that were not previously eligible for scaled disclosure under Regulation S-K. EGCs that are more definitive about their intentions to use the provisions of the Act have lower underpricing than those that are ambiguous. Finally, we find no increase in IPO volume after the Act. Overall, we find little evidence that the Act has initially been effective in achieving its main objectives and conclude that there are significant consequences to extending scaled disclosure to larger issuers.
Interestingly, one of the authors - Kathleen Weiss Hanley - was until very recently an economist at the SEC,