Friday, August 28, 2009
SEC, Crackdown or Crackup?
"The [SEC] is reeling off a string of enforcement moves against high-profile companies and individuals as it tries to establish what its new enforcement chief calls a 'sense of urgency.' ... SEC Chiarman Mary Schapiro and enforecment director Robert Khuzami are trying to repair the agency's reputation, which has been battered in recent years. ... 'Clearly the message going out is that the SEC is going to be much tougher with regard to settlement postures, in terms of penalites,' said Walter Ricciardi, a former deputy director of enforcement who is now a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. ... The agency is trying to speed up cases with new tactics. It is looking for ways to grant cooperation points to individuals who help authorities uncover frauds. To expedite cases, the five-member SEC leadership no longer needs to approve all formal orders of investigation", Kara Scannell at the WSJ, 11 August 2009, link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124994766376121053.html.
It looks like nothing of substance changed at the SEC. Its smoke and mirrors dance continues. Why headline rush? What is the SEC ignoring? Ricciardi's statement is interesting. I assume he made it on the SEC's behalf to make the SEC look tough. Will these "cooperation points" mean cash? Or what exactly?