This book serves two purposes, one obvious, but the other possibly less so.
Quite obviously, and one reason for its continuing popularity, The International Capital Markets Review addresses the comparative law aspect of our readers’ international capital markets (ICM) workload and equips them with a comparative law reference source. Globalisation and technological change mean that the transactional practice of a capital markets lawyer, wherever based, no longer enjoys the luxury, if ever it did, of focusing solely at home within the confines of a single jurisdiction. Globalisation means that fewer and fewer opportunities or challenges are truly local, and technology more and more permits a practitioner to tackle international issues.
Moreover, the client certainly may have multijurisdictional ambitions or, even if unintended, its activities often may risk multijurisdictional impact. In such cases, it would be a brave but possibly foolish counsel who assumed: ‘The only law, regulation and jurisdiction that matter are my own!’
But actually the second purpose that this book aims to serve is, ironically, to equip its readers to do a better job as practitioners at home. In other words, reading the summaries of foreign lawyers, who can describe relevant foreign laws and practices, is perfectly consistent with and helpful when interpreting and giving advice about one’s own law and practice.
As well as giving guidance for navigating a particular local, but, from the standpoint of the reader, foreign scene, the comparative perspectives presented by our authors present an agenda for thought, analysis and response about home jurisdiction laws and regulatory framework, thereby giving lawyers, in-house compliance officers, regulators, law students and law teachers also an opportunity to create a checklist of relevant considerations both in light of what is or may currently be required in their own jurisdiction but also as to where things there could or should best be headed (based on best practices of another jurisdiction) for the future.
Thus, an unfamiliar and still-changing legal jurisdiction abroad may raise awareness and stimulate discussion, which in turn may assist practitioners to revise concepts, practices and advice in our domestic as well as international work. Why is this so important? The simple answer is that it cannot be avoided in today’s ICM practice. Just as importantly, an ICM practitioner’s clients would not wish us to have a more blinkered perspective.
A week before writing this Preface, I had the honour of sharing the platform with a United Kingdom Supreme Court Justice, a distinguished Queen’s Counsel and three American academics. Our topic was ‘Comparative Law as an Appropriate Topic for Courts’. The others concentrated their remarks, as might have been expected, in the context of matters of constitutional law, and that gave rise to a spirited debate. I attempted to take some of the more theoretical aspects of our discussion and ground them in the specific example of the capital markets, and particularly the over-the-counter derivatives market.
Activity in that market, I said, could be characterised as truly global. More to the point, I posited that, whereas you might get varied answers if you asked a country’s citizens whether they considered it appropriate for a court to take account of the experiences of other jurisdictions when considering issues of constitutional law, in my view derivatives market participants would uniformly wish courts to at least be aware of and consider relevant financial market practice beyond their jurisdictional borders and comparative jurisprudence (especially from English and New York courts, which are most often called upon to adjudicate disputes about derivatives), even when traditional approaches to contract construction as between courts in different jurisdictions may have differed.
In such cases, with so much at stake given the volumes of financial market trading on standard terms and given the complexity and technicality of many of the products and the way in which they are traded and valued, there appears to me to be a growing interest in comparative law analysis and an almost insatiable appetite among judges to know at least how experienced courts have answered similar questions.
There is no reason to think that ICM practitioners are any differently situated in this regard or less in need of or less benefited by a comparative view when facing up to the often technical and complex problems confronting them than are judges. After all, it is only human nature to wish not to be embarrassed or disadvantaged by what you do not know.
Of course, it must be recognised that there is no substitute for actual exchanges of information between lawyers from different jurisdictions directly. Ours should be an interdependent professional world. A world of shared issues and challenges, such as those posed by market regulation. A world of instant communication. A world of legal practices less constrained by jurisdictional borders. In that sense and to that end, the directory of experts and their law firms in the Appendices to this book may help identify local counterparts in potentially relevant jurisdictions (one new jurisdiction, Thailand, having been added this year). And, in that case, hopefully a pre-read of this book’s content may facilitate discussions with a relevant author.
In conclusion, let me add that our authors are indeed the heroes of the stories told in the pages that follow. My admiration of our contributing experts, as I wrote in the preface to the last edition, continues. It remains too a distinct privilege to serve as their editor, and once again I shall be glad if their collective effort proves helpful to our readers when facing the challenges of their ICM practices amidst the growing interdependence of our professional world.
P.R.I.M.E. Finance Foundation