Wall Street hold ‘em

Posted: 30 November 2012 in Uncategorized
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The series continues with the Queen of Spades: Mary Schapiro.

Mary Schapiro is the current chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the main federal agency charged with enforcing the federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry. Previously she was a regulator for Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton, and was one of the voices calling for deregulation of the securities industry. She powerfully advocated for lessening “the burden of regulation” as the chairperson and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (later called the National Association of Securities Dealers) which is a trade organization of those who do not want to be regulated! As chair of the SEC in a time of rampant financial malfeasance, she has not aggressively pursued individuals, organizations and vested interests with the full force of her office.

Schapiro steps down as chairwoman on 14 December, to be replaced by Elisse Walter.

SEC lawyers have scored some victories. In two cases related to subprime mortgages, they won settlements of $550 million from Goldman Sachs Group (GS) and $67.5 million from Angelo Mozilo, co-founder of Countrywide Financial. Still, the agency was attacked by lawmakers, judges, and consumer groups for not going after individual Wall Street bankers. SEC lawyers didn’t take action against anyone at Lehman Brothers orAmerican International Group (AIG), companies at the epicenter of the credit crisis. Lynn Turner, a former SEC chief accountant, says the agency’s enforcement record signals to Wall Street that the tough talk is just rhetoric. Schapiro “has created a culture where it is better to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission,” Turner says. “And the trouble is, she always forgives them.”

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