SEC Chairman: Fix Sarbanes-Oxley -- Don't Trash It

Christopher Cox
Christopher Cox

The financial world's "techtonic plates" are colliding, but don't fear earthquakes -- Christopher Cox says America's capital markets are doing just fine. The SEC chairman addressed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wednesday about the dizzying pace of global capital -- and how America can maintain its competitive edge.

Cox joined "Morning Call" to share the gist of his Chamber speech: the evolution of centuries-old capital markets via rapid-fire international integration. He likened the globalization to continental shifts -- and predicted a "great deal of upside" for individual investors, who'll enjoy access to foreign stocks within "our system of high investor protection."

The SEC chief took on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, quoting Warren Buffett's concerns over "short-termism." Cox told CNBC's Mark Haines that the real problem with Sarb-Ox is the infamous Provision 404, whose "implementation was too expensive" and "needs to be fixed."

But he rejects trashing the entire Act: Sarb-Ox had "enormous positive effects for our markets," he declared, and "is being copied" around the world by major markets including the U.K. and China. He pointed out that, competing with 50 foreign exhanges worldwide, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq still account for 38% of total global capitalization.

"Our sterling reputation for integrity is our competitve edge," he said.