How Do You Fix SEC Broken Windows? The answer is – you can’t!

By Richard Bowen

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently announced it is discontinuing their enforcement program requiring admissions of wrongdoing and the prosecutorial approach they were supposedly taking after the 2008 financial crisis. Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said the SEC would drop the “broken windows” strategy of pursuing many cases over even the smallest legal violations, and may also pull back from trying to make some companies admit to wrongdoing as a condition of settling with the SEC.” 

Remember in 2013, under Mary Jo White’s leadership, the SEC announced it would make companies and individuals admit wrongdoing as a condition of settling civil charges in certain cases. Continue reading

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What Happened on Wall St. Ahead of the Crisis? We May Yet Find Out

New York Times
Street Scene
WILLIAM D. COHAN

db-streetscene-master768The eighth anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis is almost upon us, making this as good a moment as any to take stock of how little we know still about the bad behavior and deception that occurred inside the big Wall Street banks that helped to cause it — and how little we may ever know.

A wave of settlements between Wall Street and the Justice Department and regulators resulted in fines in excess of $200 billion flowing from the shareholders of these firms into the coffers of the various federal and state government entities. These payments still feel to me more like extortion than justice. After all, if the prosecutorial arm of the federal government that regulates you demands a 10- or 11-figure payment, it seems pointless to argue. Continue reading