SEC Conducts Major Securities Market Oversight Training Program in Middle East
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., June 14, 2007 - The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it has completed a comprehensive Capital Market Development and Oversight Training Program in the Middle East, held in Manama, Bahrain, from June 3-6. The four-day regional program led by SEC staff included intensive training on methods for conducting investigations of insider trading, financial fraud and market manipulation. The training also focused on market surveillance techniques and broker-dealer inspections and compliance.
The Middle East program featured 36 delegates from securities authorities, stock exchanges, and central banks from eight Middle Eastern countries. The program was held at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance. Co-sponsors included the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Financial Services Volunteer Corps., and the National Association of Securities Dealers, with financial support from the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative.
SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said, "The development of strong capital markets, supported by robust securities enforcement, is vital not only to the development of the region's economies, but also to the broader global capital marketplace. The strength of any one regulator is increasingly dependent on the ability of its foreign counterparts to effectively oversee and enforce their markets. We were extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to share views on securities market enforcement and oversight with our counterparts in the Middle East, and applaud their ongoing efforts to strengthen their regimes to the benefit of investors globally."
Ethiopis Tafara, Director of the SEC's Office of International Affairs, added, "Regional training programs provide a unique opportunity for SEC staff and foreign regulators to share views on challenges and potential solutions to securities enforcement and oversight issues in light of local perspectives and developments. These regional training efforts complement the SEC's ongoing bilateral work with individual regulators in the Middle East with a view to promoting high quality securities regulation."
His Excellency, Mr. Rasheed Al Meraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, stated, "We are so pleased to co-host this opportunity for regulators from the United States and Middle East countries to spend four intensive days together to discuss best practices for detecting and prosecuting market abuse and oversight of broker dealers. The discussion of specific case studies based on real examples of insider trading, market manipulation, financial fraud, and broker-dealer examinations have provided participants in this program an invaluable opportunity to evaluate their capacity to deal with these market abuses in preparation for when they inevitably arise on their watch. Rules are meaningless without effective enforcement."
William T. Monroe, U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, noted, "These programs are tremendous opportunities for senior officials and staff from regulatory authorities in the United States and the Middle East to have candid discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of different regulatory models. Capital markets have an important ongoing role to play as a source of finance in growing and diversifying economies. Having U.S. and Middle East regulatory staff working together to solve common problems represents a great chance to help improve the investment climate for both investors and companies in search of capital."
The SEC's technical assistance training programs provided training for 1045 foreign officials from 107 foreign jurisdictions in fiscal year 2006 alone. In the last eighteen months, the SEC staff has conducted or substantially participated in regional or bilateral training programs in Uganda, China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Vietnam, Kuwait and Iraq have recently sought and been provided assistance in developing new securities laws.
The SEC's flagship training programs are its International Enforcement Institute held in the fall of each year, and its International Institute for Securities Market Development held in the spring. Last April, the Institute for Securities Market Development audience totaled 174 senior securities officials from 74 emerging market jurisdictions. The technical assistance program includes regional training programs such as the Bahrain program, bilateral training programs, reviews of foreign statutes and regulations, and responses to specific technical assistance inquiries.
For more information on SEC's technical assistance program, contact Dr. Robert M. Fisher or Z. Scott Birdwell at the Office of International Affairs at 202-551-6690, or by email at OIA@SEC.gov.