Out of Place and Out of Line: Positioning the Police in the Regulation of Financial Markets

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Abstract:

In November of 2003, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police launched a major initiative to combat securities fraud in Canada. Spurred by the Enron scandals in the United States, this involved the establishment of a series of specialized white-collar crime units with the express mandate of investigating serious cases of securities fraud and protecting investors from the worst of the market's abuses. After four years of activity, these units have produced little in the way of tangible results and have been widely criticized in legal, financial, and regulatory communities. Drawing on thirty-five interviews with members of these units, as well as outside stakeholders including Crown Attorneys and private litigators, this article examines the activities of these Integrated Market Enforcement Teams and highlights a number of barriers to the successful execution of their designated mandate. While factors such as procedural restrictions and limited expertise are certainly relevant, this analysis reveals that the IMET teams are more fundamentally constrained by their position in a broader regulatory field. Understanding this field, and its unique structure and politics, is essential in coming to terms with both the possibilities and limitations of securities enforcement in an increasingly complex financial world.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9930.2008.00279.x

Affiliations: York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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