Thursday, June 12, 2008

Toothless SEC-5

"The [SEC] reached a settlement with Analog Devices Inc., in which the company agreed to pay $3 million to settle charges that it backdated stock options grants to executives, directors and employees. ... In addition, Analog's chief executive Jerald Fishman agreed to settle the case, without admitting or denying wrongdoing, and will pay $450,000 in proceeds from option sales and interest as well as a $1 million fine. ... The decision likely means the SEC won't charge other companies with spring-loading, which has been controversial from the start. SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins, a Republican, in a July 2006 speech, defended the practice as a legitimate and low-cost way for boards to efficiently compensate executives. He rejected the idea that such awards amount to trading on inside information. In a statement, Analog Devices noted it neither admitted nor denied the SEC's allegations and said it didn't have to restate financial results", my emphasis, WSJ, 31 May 2008.

Another SEC triumph. Close the SEC Enforcement Division. Who needs it? That an SEC Comisisoner could not see that "spring-loading" is trading on inside information is beyond me. Imagine, Martha Stewart's "insider trading" case involved about $53,000; for which she went to prison. Fishman made $450,000 from this which he refunded and paid a $1 million fine. How nice. Analog Devices has a $10.3 billion market cap and made $466 million last year. The $3 million it paid, .0064 of last year's income was probably less than it's legal fees.

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