Thursday, 16 October 2008

A Question of Regulation

Nadine Dorries, the Right Wing Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire, writes:

" ..... There is only one knowledgeable commentator whose opinion I have listened to and believed throughout all of this financial chaos, and that is Jon Moulson of Alchemy - I am always knocked out by John's pragmatism and commonsense. I'm not yet sure what he thinks of tighter regulatory reform in the hands of the FSA ...... " (Nadine Dorries' blog, 15.10.2008)

Now, I'd never heard of Mr Moulson, so I decided to do some research.
I wasn't sure whether his first name was actually Jon or John, since Nadine Dorries uses both spellings. Either way, I could only discover a Jon / John Moulton at Alchemy. Assuming this is the very same person (I stress it is just an assumption) and that Nadine Dorries has made a typo, I found an interesting peice which was published in the Independent by Sean O'Grady (29.4.2000) :

"Moulton looks mean. Bald, wiry, cold-eyed, thin-lipped, those glasses - he makes an easy hate figure. He looks, in fact, not so much as though he would sell his own granny for sixpence but that he would be happy to sell her kidneys to Ford, flog her liver to General Motors and sell the rest for scrap. 'Some people would say that his main delight is picking the legs off flies,' says one unkind acquaintance."

Oh dear, perhaps not the sort of person you'd wish to bump into on a dark cold rainy night. But Nadine Dorries swears by him, so I pressed on. I then came across a peice by Jane Martinson in the Guardian (20.1.2006) :

" A 'minor' supporter of the Tory party - he has donated about £50,000 - he also blames high taxation and increased spending on the public sector. Then he says: 'I have to declare an interest. Fundamentally, I like really awful times as the collapse of the UK economy is ideal for me and my business."

Dear me, could Mr Moulton be enjoying himself in these troubled times ?
Still, every cloud .....

But what is the answer to Nadine Dorries' query about Mr Moulton's thoughts on tighter regulatory reform in the hands of the FSA ? Well, I found this by Maggie Lee in the Independent (29.10.2006) :

"As the industry comes under the scrutiny of the regulator (the Financial Services Authority is currently reviewing private-equity's impact on the market and bank debt), he is unequivocal that the British Venture Capital Association should act to counter critics. ' The regulation has gone over the top in terms of cost-effectiveness. While the UK was the first country in the world to regulate venture capital, there isn't a shred of evidence to suggest it's actually worthwhile.' "

So, it doesn't appear that Mr Moulton is much in favour of more regulation, of whatever kind. But I suppose he may have changed his mind. After all, a lot of people have. I think we had better wait until Nadine Dorries has had chance to talk to her guru, and vouchsafe his pearls of pragmatism and commonsense. Wait on ....

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