The Financial Services Authority's rule book now runs to 8,800 pages. This daunting information comes from Nigel Whittaker, once the human face of Kingfisher when it was run by the dour Sir Geoff Mulcahy.
Mr Whittaker now has a consultancy called Reputation Inc and the FSA is one of his clients. His remit, presumably, is to burnish its reputation. That could be an issue for an outfit with a 8,800-page rule book, chock full of potential trouble for those who have overlooked a paragraph that concerns them - and for the good reputation of the FSA, too, if it comes to be seen as a petty-f ogging or tyrannical regulator.
There is the opposite risk, too, of being perceived as a soft touch, failing to protect investors, home-buyers and people taking out insurance policies from snake oil merchants. For the most part the FSA has avoided both traps.
It has had bad moments, the worst when Legal & General appealed to the regulator's tribunal and got a favourable result. So did the so-called "plumber", Paul Davidson, defending a charge of "market abuse".
It can also be wrong-headed. This column has picked up the absurdity of compensating so-called victims of mis-sold mortgage endowments. Many of these people have saved more money paying unexpectedly low interest rates on their mortgages than they ever lost from the same low interest rates and low inflation depressing the returns on their with-profit endowments.
For all that, the FSA is seen as a professional, thorough, regulator, not cheap, but not foolish either. Remember, though, its powers are so huge that those who object to its rulings may think it wise to nurse their anger in silence.
So it is no bad thing that the FSA is setting about a bit of self-regulation. It intends to prune some of those 8,800 pages, bringing in a regime based on "principles" rather than rigid rules.
That should mean less box-ticking, more judgment, more thought, possibly more mistakes. Compliance officers may not like it, nor will the lawyers. But the FSA deserves a pat on the head for trying.
For a while yesterday afternoon the 100-share Footsie was back where it was in mid-May on a day when the Middle Eastern conflict, with its implications for oil prices, and much more besides, appeared more threatening and intractable than ever.
Mike Lenhoff at Brewin Dolphin gives the credit quite simply to American company results. US finance depart-ments work faster than ours, so much so that more than half the companies in the S&P 500 have already reported their half-time numbers, while our results season has barely started.
These American results have been terrific, 3.6 pleasant surprises for every disappointment, Mr Lenhoff reckons. That bodes well for British results, too, regardless of hesitant British consumers, or even NHS trusts running out of cash. Nowadays 70 per cent of the sales of Footsie companies are derived from overseas. If the Americans are doing all right, so, very probably, are we.