What is it?
The Financial Regulators Gateway is a directory of financial regulators throughout the world, as well as a directory of the relevant statutes and regulations in each jurisdiction. According to the website, the University of Toledo College of Law originally developed it, but the website is now maintained independently by Prof. Emeritus Howard M. Friedman.
Why would I use it?
Searching through Google, or any other search engine, for a particular financial regulator can be onerous. If you are unsure whether a country’s securities regulator is an independent entity or part of a consolidated financial regulator, searching can be particularly frustrating.
This directory will point you in the right direction. It generally lists separate securities, banking, and insurance regulators. However, in some jurisdictions, the same body regulates one or more of these regulatory functions. The directory will help you to identify whether a particular regulator is in charge of all the financial activities, as in Singapore, or, whether individual agencies regulate each broad type of activity, as in Hong Kong.
Where can I find it?
The website address or URL is: http://financialregulatorsgateway.com
How do I use it?
From the homepage, there are two possibilities. You can either select the geographic area you wish to investigate and gradually narrow your search to the appropriate jurisdiction, or you can browse for specific jurisdictions alphabetically. As an index with a finite number of jurisdictions, the designers have not included a search feature, so you must find a regulator by browsing for its jurisdiction.
For American and Canadian jurisdictions, you can also find the regulators for particular states or provinces. This feature reflects the type of federalism that exists in those jurisdictions, where the state or provincial governments have substantial authority in regulating financial activities.
What is good?
- Indexing. Listing the jurisdictions by both geographic area and alphabetical order makes finding a particular jurisdiction easy. This type of resource is particularly amenable to the web and navigation through hyperlinks.
- Persistence. The website appears to have stable funding, and thus it appears that it will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.
- Simplicity. The sole purpose of the website is to serve as a directory. There is very little, if any, extraneous information.
- Scope. The scope of the coverage is worldwide, and there is an entry for every country where a regulatory body exists (with the exception of jurisdictions where the publishers failed to find a regulator, or in some jurisdictions where sovereignty is in dispute).
- Cost. The website is free to use, and probably will remain so given its origins and affiliation with the University of Toledo.
What could be better?
- Currency. At the time of writing many of the jurisdictions have been updated as recently as August 2011. However, since the website is now maintained by an individual rather than an organization, the time that Dr. Friedman can spend updating the directory is understandably limited. The difficulty may not be quite so pronounced in jurisdictions where the agencies are relatively persistent, but some jurisdictions change radically in a matter of years. Even a relatively stable country such as the United Kingdom will soon need to have its listing updated to reflect the sweeping changes occurring there.
- American-centric. It is understandable that an American university would have a particular interest in highlighting American jurisdictions. However, the small inconsistency is that Canadian provinces can be found from the listing for Canada’s federal regulators or under the listing for North America, while the American state regulators can neither be found under the listing for the United States’ federal regulators nor under the listing for North America. Instead the state regulators have their own listing in a separate section of the website, which is accessible from the menu at the top left of all pages.
- Search. There is no search option, which could be useful if you were trying to find a particular jurisdiction right away. On one hand, there are not too many jurisdictions to make browsing difficult. On the other hand, searching might help to find jurisdictions where the user does not know the continental affiliation of the jurisdiction. For example, is Mauritius in Africa or Asia? Is Papua New Guinea in Asia or Oceania?
- Interactivity of the map. Although a small feature, it would be useful to be able to click on the continent or a country on the map to be taken to the part of the website for that area. Such a feature may not be a priority for people working on the website, and as borders change, could be quite difficult to implement and maintain.
As a directory of worldwide regulatory agencies and the legislative basis of their activities, this website is both ambitious and successful. For anyone researching the regulations of a particular jurisdiction, this website is a great starting point. The caveat is that it is incumbent upon users of the directory to help this initiative stay current by notifying the site’s administrator of any corrections. Additions and corrections should be sent to the e-mail address listed on the page entitled About This Web Site.