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France toTighten Up Regulation of Financial Services
Feb 12, 2003

The French government last week proposed a series of measures aimed at restoring confidence in the French stock market.The measures include the creation of a financial super-regulator and tougher controls of the accounting profession.

Accroding to a survey published this week by Sofres, a leading polling organization, more than half of all French investors no longer trust chief executives. This drop in investor confidence followed the high-profile crisis of governance at Vivendi Universal, the country's largest private sector employer.

The new law will tighten up restrictions on accounting firms providing consulting services to the same company. It also institutionalizes the rotation of individuals responsible for the audit of a company's accounts every six years.

The accounting profession will see its existing self-regulatory body, the Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes, supervised by a new 12-person body - headed by an outsider - called the Haut Conseil du Commissariat aux Comptes.

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