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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Research
Jul 13, 2018

Regulatory Cooperation and Foreign Portfolio Investment

We investigate the effect of cross-border regulatory cooperation on global mutual fund portfolio allocations, focusing on the Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU), a non-binding information sharing arrangement between global securities regulators. Connections between the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other foreign regulators increase the SEC’s ability to pursue US cross-listed firms. We find that foreign investment in US-cross- listed firms domiciled in the signatory country increases significantly relative to non-cross-listed firms from that country. We find the strongest effects of the MMoU for non-US investors trading on non-US exchanges, which suggests that there are significant spillover effects associated with regulatory cooperation. This increase in foreign investment is particularly pronounced for investors from geographically, linguistically, and culturally distant countries where information asymmetry is high, and also for dedicated investors who are more reliant on public information and oversight. Consistent with the increased US regulatory oversight driving the results, the increase in foreign investment is concentrated among US-cross-listed firms that are SEC registrants, firms from countries that had weak prior regulatory links to the US, and firms from investor countries that are closely aligned with the US.


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