Can they make their minds up?

The Malaysian Securities Commission has backtracked on its reform plan by allowing brokerages more time to consolidate.

Foreign brokers in Malaysia have just been let off a huge problem. The Securities Commission in that country dictated that the 63 registered brokerages must merge into 15 groups. Jardine Fleming, Merrill Lynch, WI Carr and Deutsche Bank were the foreigners affected, given that they have local joint ventures.

I have calculated that it would cost around $100 million for each of the four to stay independent, because each would have to buy four other brokerages. The deadline for doing so was to be the end of the year.

Not any more. The Securities Commission has now backtracked on its plan, which it only launched in April. Malaysia's brokerages are now...

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