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Transatlantic summit held in Dublin Back  
Dublin hosted the a transatlantic summit - the first in Europe to discuss the ongoing regulatory agenda behind the creation of greater trade in financial services between the EU and the USA as SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins was joined at the Finance Dublin 8th Annual Conference by his European counterpart, Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. The commissioners were joined by Andrew Crockett, president of JPMorgan International and Bob Wigley, chairman of Merrill Lynch EMEA in a discussion on the development of greater trade in financial services between the EU and the USA.
US Securities and Exchange Commissioner responsible for external relations, Paul Atkins, praised Ireland's regulatory system, quoting the Irish Government's 2004 white paper on better regulation as an exemplary document. He was speaking along with EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Charlie McCreevy at the Finance Dublin annual conference in Dublin Castle on Monday March 26th.
Commissioner Atkins' words follow the visit in early March by the Chairman Brian Patterson and Chief Executive Patrick Neary of the Irish Financial Regulator to the United States, which involved a series of high level meetings with financial regulators at the SEC and Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke.

Paying tribute to the emergence of Ireland as an international financial centre, Atkins said, 'Because of Ireland's growing importance in the global financial services market, it is critical that Ireland be a part of the global dialogue'.

In his own speech at the conference, Neary referred to the US trip by highlighting the consensus that emerged amongst both industry and regulators. The shared view was for a 'greater desire for principles led systems of supervision; for greater convergence in the approach to regulation especially between the US and Europe; and for a desire for greater certainty in the strategic direction of regulators into the future,' he said.

Introduced by Bob Wigley, chairman of Merrill Lynch EMEA, as the 'founding father of the Celtic Tiger', EU Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, set out some ideas on establishing a transatlantic market. He said, 'In developing our regulatory frameworks in the light of the globalisation of the financial industry, we need to focus on some key principles and objectives. Open access. Compatible regulatory approaches. A sensible balance between investor protection and economic freedom. Market participants and investors want choice. We should give it to them. And ensure a level playing field'.

Following their speeches, Atkins and McCreevy were joined in a panel discussion which included Wigley, and president of JPMorgan Chase International, Sir Andrew Crockett.

When questioned about the impact hedge funds and private equity have on financial stability, McCreevy pointed at John Hurley, governor of the Central Bank who was sitting in the audience, and said that when he was Minister for Finance, he was only worried when Hurley wasn't worried. 'The job of regulators is to be worried - if they weren't worried I'd be worried,' he said.
Also speaking on the theme of transatlantic co-operation was Anthony Belchambers, a member of The EU-US Coalition on Financial Regulation, who said regulators could not go on 'year after year, debating what the philosophical approach should be'.

'The jewel in the crown of developing a transatlantic marketplace is commercial. I do not think it should be left to some sort of regulatory 'love-in'. Industry needs a role,' he added.

James Leigh-Pemberton, managing director of investment banking at Credit Suisse, said a formal agreement on mutual recognition would be 'a fantastic goal' .

'There is a huge amount of willing on our part to try and make this happen. It is what our clients want and will get [trading] costs down,' he said.

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