In a discussion of the seismic data sector, I noted that Petroleum Geo-Services, a leader in the space, has voluntarily chosen to withdraw its NYSE
When I saw Global Gains pick Suez
If I told you that Adecco, E.ON
And if I told you the world's largest staffing firm, a publicly traded energy service provider, a yogurt purveyor, and a cement maker are all pulling their listings? Not to mention the U.K.'s largest public water company, Australia's biggest bank, or France's largest reinsurer.
The cause for exodus is uniform. Trading volume of these issues is very light relative to activity back on home exchanges, so the companies figure the cost of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance outweighs the benefit of the U.S. listing. The meaning of this trend is interpreted far less uniformly.
Foolish colleague Seth Jayson sees these delistings as a sign of the world getting flatter. Domestic investors are becoming more willing to invest through foreign exchanges, and a new global trading platform from E*Trade
My better half suggests that if these firms don't want to take steps to affirm their internal controls, maybe they're the next Enron-esque company (or more fittingly, the next Parmalat), and good riddance to them if they don't want to comply. For my taste, that's too close to the logic of "if you have nothing to hide, why should you care if we wiretap your phone?"
I can't shake the idea that we're losing a little of the vitality that makes U.S. financial markets the best in the world. Granted, mergers and acquisitions among the world's stock exchanges may make this concern altogether moot. I don't really care where a firm is listed as long as its filings follow robust shareholder disclosure principles, and its shares have decent liquidity. But now the latter is missing in an ever-growing number of leading international companies.