1st Edition

Policing the Markets Inside the Black Box of Securities Enforcement

By James Williams Copyright 2012
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Set against the backdrop of the recurring waves of financial scandal and crisis to hit Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe over the last decade, this book examines the struggles of securities enforcement agencies to police the financial markets. While allegations of regulatory failure in this realm are commonplace and are well documented in policy and legal scholarship, James Williams seeks to move beyond these conventional accounts arguing that they are based on a limited view of the regulatory process and overlook the actual practices and dilemmas of enforcement work. Informed by interviews with police, regulators, lawyers, accountants, and investor advocates, along with a wealth of documentary materials, the book is rooted in a uniquely interdisciplinary social science perspective. Peering inside the black box of enforcement, it examines the organizational, professional, geographical, technological, and legal influences that shape securities enforcement as a distinctly knowledge-based enterprise. The result of these influences, Williams argues, is the production of a very particular vision of financial disorder which captures certain forms of misconduct while overlooking others, a reflection not of incompetence or capture but of the unique demands and constraints of the regulatory craft. Providing a very different, and much needed, account of the challenges faced by regulators and enforcement agencies, this book will be of enormous interest to current research on enforcement, regulation, and governance both within and beyond the financial realm.

    Introduction: Policing The Markets? Chapter One: Market Matters; Chapter Two: Mandates And Mantras Of Securities Enforcement; Chapter Three: Inter-Agency Politics And Jurisdictional Boundaries; Chapter Four: Symbolic Capital, Experience, And Expertise; Chapter Five: Technologies, Narratives, And Morality Plays; Chapter Six: Legal Couplings And Regulatory Encounters; Chapter Seven: Regulatory Vision And The Politics Of Knowledgeability; Conclusion.


    James W. Williams is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Science, York University. He has authored numerous journal articles on the policing of economic crime and the governance of financial markets, published in journals such as Economy and Society and the British Journal of Criminology.

    ‘Though James Williams’s study of Canadian securities regulation requires some effort of readers unfamiliar with the subject, context, or his approach, Policing the Markets succeeds in offering vivid insights and tangible lessons to an array of audiences.’Patrick Schmidt, Macalester College, for Governance