Thursday, March 13, 2008

The SEC Responds

"A four-year investigation into gifts lavished on mutual-fund companies by Wall Street has claimed its biggest name: Peter Lynch, legendary investor and adviser to mutual-fund giant Fidelity Investments. ... The SEC alleges Mr. Lynch accepted 61 tickets to 12 events, including 14 three-day passes to the 1999 Ryder Cup golf tournament and a U2 rock concert. The total value: $15,948. ... 'The tone is set at the top,' said the SEC's Walter Riccardi, deputy director of enforcement. ... In addition to the $8 million payment, Fidelity as part of the settlement agreed to hire an independent consultant to conduct a review of its policies and procedures, the SEC said", Kara Scannell, Susanne Craig and Jennifer Levitz (SCL) at the WSJ, 6 March 2008.

I hope SCL wrote this article "tongue in cheek". Imagine a four-year investigation finds $15,948 in inappropriate gifts to Peter Lynch, who has a $352 million net worth according to I'm sure the gifts influenced his actions significantly. Not to be outdone by its DOJ cousins, the SEC will have Fidelity "hire an independent consultant". Who? John Ashcroft? Gary Lynch, Harvey Pitt or Arthur Levitt, all formerly with the SEC? Why not Independent Accountant? I'll do it for a mere $900 an hour if I can start after 15 April, when tax season ends. Why not Riccardi?

The SEC's 5 March 2008 press release reads in part, "'This case demonstrates again the SEC's commitment to preventing conflicts of interest from compromising the integrity of the markets,' said David P. Bergers, Regional Director of the SEC's Boston Regional Office". No it doesn't. It shows the SEC hasn't a clue what's important.

What makes the SEC's "tremendous" catch interesting is: the SEC's announcing it on 5 March, six days after my 29 February 2008 post. Does Riccardi read this blog. Well? "Tone at the top", bah humbug.


Buzz Saw said...

The SEC is a political lap dog. That Chrissy Cox will even help corporations cook the books. Can't get any more accommodating than that.

Independent Accountant said...

Buzz Saw:
See my 6 February 2008 post mentioning the SEC.