Financial Regulation May Blunt U.S. Competitive Edge, Gamco's Gabelli Says

The U.S. may lose its competitive edge in global financial markets because of misguided regulation, according to Mario Gabelli, chairman and chief executive officer of Gamco Investors Inc.

“What makes New York special is the quality of the people, the competitiveness, the creativity,” Gabelli, 67, said in a Bloomberg Radio interview today with Tom Keene. “How do we screw it up? Regulation in Washington, unintended consequences.”

Gabelli credited America’s “vitality” and the strength of its academic institutions as the reason for its success. Legislation has curbed its global competitiveness by deterring investors and sending them elsewhere, he said.

“We created competition in London, in Hong Kong,” he said. “We basically are driving capital out of the United States and out of New York.”

In his “Magna Carta of Shareholder Rights,” published in 1988, Gabelli took issue with companies he said failed to keep stockholders informed, and with “poison pill” takeover defenses, in which boards issue convertible stock that can increase the price of a transaction, discouraging potential buyers.

The Magna Carta is the guarantee of political and civil liberties granted by England’s King John in 1215. Gamco, based in Rye, New York, has about $20 billion under management.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mary Childs in New York at mchilds5@bloomberg.net; Tom Keene in New York at tkeene@bloomberg.net

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