Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Stronger SEC Is Not the Answer

It's starting. The SEC's abysmal failure, at detecting the $50 billion Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, is drawing out critics who are calling for new stronger leadership at the SEC.

"The agency can't help but look bad," said Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America. "It does raise questions ... about the quality of the enforcement division generally. It's obviously something that the new (Obama) administration has to get to the bottom of."

"A few days ago we suggested that investors monitor potential changes at the SEC. We continue to believe that this would be important to the long-term health of the market," blogs Jeffrey A. Miller PhD and CEO of NewArc Investment.

What these critics don't understand is that, while the SEC leadership under Christopher Cox has been laughable, it is the nature of the SEC itself that is the problem. It is a government agency that, like all governmant agencies, reacts to political pressures. That is why they announced their absurd financial crisis fighting changes in short-sale rules that even Cox later admitted was only a publicity stunt.

It is why they are going after Mark Cuban on bizarre insider trading charges.

So far the SEC's only defense to missing the $50 billion fraud which Boston money manager and fraud investigator, Harry Markopolos, attempted to bring to their attention for 9 years is that they get lots of such tips.

That's the point, if you are average Joe, or even money manger, fraud investigator Harry Markopolos, the SEC is not going to respond to you. They respond to power politics. They are not there to protect average investors. They are there to design new rules that give the edge to politically connected insiders. And it won't change with new leadership. Ha!

Obama's man in charge of finding a new SEC chairman is Gary Gensler. Gensler spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs and did two stints at the Treasury. Nuff said.

If anything, Obama will do nothing but replace an incompetent political hack, with a competent political hack who will make the game even more rigged for the Goldman Sachs' push to control the world.

The SEC needs to be abolished. They are not protecting investors, they are protecting Goldman Sachs from competition.

The private sector can take care of policing the investment world. Indeed, the Madoff ponzi scheme has taught investors, all investors, valuable lessons: 1. The SEC won't catch the bad guys. 2. Some in the private sector will figure out the scam (at least enough of it to warn you to stay away) and 3. If you are not a professional, you need to check out investment opportunities with at least one or two outside professionals who have no conflicts of interest and can do an independent evaluation for you.

For the record, here's a list of some in the private sector who smelled enough of scam to stay away from Bernard Madoff and warn others that they should stay away:

Harry Markopolos

Aksia LLC

MAR/Hedge Magazine


Doug Kass

Societe Generale

Salomon Konig

1 comment:

  1. "In 1964, George Stigler, the Nobel Prizewinning economist, was the first to document the futility of securities regulation. He discovered that the one-year market-adjusted returns of IPOs were no different after mandated disclosure than before. Investors buying new issues thus saw no benefits from securities regulation. George Benston later compared firms that weren't reporting revenues prior to securities regulation to those that were. No significant difference in returns was found between stocks in the two groups both before and after regulation was instituted. A difference would have shown up if the information required by securities regulators mattered to investors. Analogous findings were made in a 1981 study by Greg Jarrell published in The Journal of Law and Economics, as well as a 1989 study by Carol J. Simon in The American Economic Review.

    Interestingly, most of these studies found the volatility of stock price movements declined after mandated disclosure came into play. Riskier, more entrepreneurial firms tend to have more volatile stocks. The implication is that regulation reduced market swings by shutting out these firms from publicly traded equities, hindering a key source of economic dynamism.

    What is so revealing about the recent spate of corporate wrongdoing is that we have witnessed far more instances of financial fraud now than before the SEC ever existed. In a review of the accounting industry written in 1935, Wiley Rich noted, "an extensive survey has revealed not a single case in which a public accountant has been held liable in a crime for fraud." Around this time, Congressional hearings were held and prosecutions were launched, but little fraud was proved. "