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Tag Archives: SEC

Mary Jo White’s Recent Stint In Private Practice Questions Whether She Is the Right Person to Head An SEC that Must Shift From Feasting on Low Hanging Fruit

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

We recently defended a securities broker who had been banned for life for some impropriety relating to his expense account.  Amount at issue:  $1,100.  Harm to customers $0.   Time spent prosecuting the case by the SEC: substantial.  In researching that case we saw numerous examples of the SEC, time and again, using what they often… Continue Reading

WATCH IT: PBS’s The Untouchables Asks Why No Wall Street Executive Have Been Criminally Prosecuted for Loan Fraud

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

The Untouchables, PBS’ Frontline investigation into why no Wall Street executives have gone to jail for activities connected to the housing and financial sector in 2008, recently aired.  I took the time to watch it and strongly encourage each one of you to do the same –paints a very clear picture, in less than an… Continue Reading

Berk Law PLLC Challenges SEC Decision As Arbitrary And Capricious Before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Posted in In the Courts

On January 9, 2013, Steven Berk and Matthew Bonness appeared before the DC Circuit in the case of Saad vs. SEC to argue that the SEC’s decision affirming a “life time ban” imposed on John Saad by FINRA was arbitrary and capricious.  Mr. Saad, a securities broker with a pristine record was terminated by his… Continue Reading

The Insider Trader Circle Tightens Around Billionaire Steven Cohen and His Hedge Fund, SAC Capital

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

An article in the New York Times’ Dealbook shines a spotlight on a situation I’ve been keeping a close watch on for some time now:  billionaire Steven A. Cohen and his group/company/fund, SAC Capital Advisors.  This is the hedge fund that was found to have achieved 30% investment returns for the past two decades, or,… Continue Reading

SEC Takes a Bold Stance Against Auditors

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

Yesterday the SEC took a relatively unique stance against two auditors at KPMG.  Yes, that’s right, the auditors; not the bank itself or the bankers that led their Nebraska-based bank into bankruptcy.  While the SEC cannot file charges or impose fines upon auditors, by instituting administrative proceedings for engaging in improper professional conduct the SEC… Continue Reading

Not-Guilty Plea Could Lead to Courtroom Showdown and Spotlight on SAC Capital

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, In the Courts

This could get interesting. In November of last year Mathew Martoma, a former SAC portfolio manager, was charged with insider trading in Federal District Court of Manhattan. The facts surrounding his case are shocking and exposed an entire industry that almost seems to be based exclusively on what looks suspiciously like facilitating insider trading. Martoma… Continue Reading

Bankers – Not Banks – Must Be Regulated As Professionals

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

Bankers behaving badly, ho hum.  We’ve written about it time and again.  One day it’s manipulating the LIBOR rate to cheat their own customers, the next day its packaging questionable mortgages into risky securities and oops failing to disclose what they know to investors; or providing banking services, aid, and comfort to one Ponzi schemer… Continue Reading

We Need High Speed Regulation for High Speed Trading

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Consumer Protection

It says something about your investment regulations when other countries are looking at you for examples of what not to do. It seems the regulators who’ve learned the most from our recent trading debacles (ie: the Flash Crash, Knight Capital) are the regulators of other countries. Electronic trading sprang up, along with the computer age… Continue Reading

The Volker Rule: Politicians and Lobbyists Attempt to Influence the Fed from Behind Closed Doors

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

It isn’t exactly breaking news that big bankers don’t like the Volcker rule. After all, it is designed to protect consumers, and ideally the industry itself, from engaging in risky trades that could, if successful, line the pockets of bankers. So it should come as no surprise that the industry is fighting to get some… Continue Reading

Turning Independence On Its Head: Proposed Bill S. 3468 Would Paralyze the CFPB, the SEC, the EPA …

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Consumer Protection

Moderate and respected  Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) issued a press release on August 1st describing their proposed bill S. 3468, the “Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2012.”  For all intents and purposes the bill seeks to take the “independence” out of “Independent Regulatory Agencies”.  That’s right.  Who… Continue Reading

Whistleblower Retaliation is on the Rise

Posted in Whistleblowers

Are the days of whistleblowers being shamed into thinking they were disloyal and mere “snitches” or on the wane?  Are whistleblowers finally obtaining the respect they deserve? Yes and no.  On the one hand: *The IRS might finally be ramping up its whistleblower program, thanks in large part to the pressure of Sen. Grassley; *The… Continue Reading

Citigroup Complains to the SEC About Conflicts of Interest, Just Not its Own

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

It is fascinating to watch the banking and finance industry pointing fingers at each other for the botched Facebook IPO. Yesterday, attempts to shift blame and recover some losses led to some wonderful quotes from Citigroup. The New York Times’ Dealbook recently summed up Citigroup’s position: “Citigroup on Wednesday also criticized Nasdaq’s claim that its… Continue Reading

SEC Approves Maximum Whistleblower Reward of 30%

Posted in Whistleblowers

It’s about time.  Under the now toddler age (2-year old) Dodd-Frank whistleblower program, the SEC finally granted an award.  Yes, an award to a whistleblower.  And the award was the maximum percentage allowed:  30% of what the SEC recovered.  And the bad news:  well what have they been doing for two years – one award? … Continue Reading

Bank Officer: “Will No One Rid Me of This Troublesome Mortgage-Backed Security?!”

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Corporations

The decision by both the Justice Department and the SEC to close investigations into various questionable actions taken by Goldman Sachs reveals an interesting tension in our regulatory laws: between what we think is the “right” or “moral” code of conduct for the banking industry verses what is legal under existing laws and regulations.  In… Continue Reading

Too Bad the SEC Can’t Put Citigroup in Jail

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, In the Courts

I’m still trying to understand the SEC’s decision making process in deciding to charge Mr. Brian H. Stoker, former Citigroup banker, in connection with a subprime mortgage-related debacle at Citigroup. In this offering, Citigroup bet against one of its own securities, which subsequently lost most of its value and has since been described using bad… Continue Reading

Software Problems Are Market Problems: A Dangerous Gap in SEC Regulations

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

I know, it doesn’t seem possible, but it looks like Wall Street investment firms are getting even better at losing money. Trading firms are even developing computer program that lose money for them. At least that’s what happened when Knight Capital released their new trading platform, containing a major bug, earlier this week. The bug… Continue Reading

In Defense of Regulation: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (Wal-Mart & the FCPA; JPMorgan & the Volcker Rule)

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Corporations, Social Policy

– George Santayana, The Life of Reason (1905-06) Exhibit number one: Wal-Mart and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (read: pro-business lobbying group) has recently made efforts to “improve” (read: loosen) the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). The FCPA prohibits such nefarious acts as bribing foreign officials and requires such pro-transparency… Continue Reading

Ready, Set, Action: Why the Government Must Act Immediately Regarding Regulation of Financial Markets

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

Today government regulators from the SEC and CFTC testified before the Senate’s Banking Committee.  They came before the committee to testify about the needs of much more comprehensive regulation regarding derivative markets.  In 2010 Congress passed the Dodd-Frank reforms, which were partly aimed at wrangling in wild, out of control, derivative markets that aided the… Continue Reading

SEC Reveals Whistleblower’s Identity, While Dodd-Frank Inspires Whistleblowers in Droves

Posted in Whistleblowers

In Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Scott Patterson and Jenny Strasburg break news that the SEC accidentally revealed Peter C. Earle’s identity to his company during the investigation of his supposed-to-be-anonymous whistleblower claim.  In 2009, prior to the passage of Dodd-Frank and when whistleblowers were literally hundreds of times scarcer, Earle went to the SEC and… Continue Reading

SEC Congratulates Itself Because Over 100 Have Been Charged in Connection with the Financial Meltdown of 2008, but Numbers Can Be Deceiving

Posted in Consumer Protection

“More than 100 people and firms have now been charged with fraud tied to the financial crisis by the Securities and Exchange Commission,” a recent Wall Street Journal article explains.  If only the phrase to live by was “quantity over quality” and not vice-versa. SEC Director of Enforcement Robert Khuzami proudly presents those statistics as… Continue Reading