Regulatory competition has long driven the path of corporate law in the federal system of the United States. Now, jurisdictional competition has spread to exchange listings. New York took an early lead in that competition in the 1990s, but has now been overtaken by London. Can London prevail in the competition for stock listings in the long term? This essay explores that question through the insights offered by Delaware’s dominance in the market for corporate listings. Delaware has prevailed by offering corporate directors a predictable body of that credibly shields directors from the vagaries of political backlash in times of financial crisis. London’s performance during the recent financial crisis suggests that it – like New York – lacks the capacity to shield players in the financial system from the populist forces that seek retribution in the wake of economic reversals. In the long run, neither London nor New York is likely to enjoy a comparative advantage in the market for stock exchange listings.


Business Organizations Law | Securities Law

Date of this Version

May 2009