Thursday, March 5, 2009

Toothless SEC Gums Again

The Securities & Exchange Commission negotiated another settlement for nefarious investment firm behavior. Specialist trading firms on four exchanges robbed customers of over $58 million from 1999 to 2005. The legal settlement comes with no admission of guilt and a fine.

This follows over a decade of executive stock option backdating, robbing shareholders. Most CEO's returned their profits while not admitting guilt.

The UBS offshore tax haven went on during much the same time as specialist pickpocketing. President Obama's Justice Department went light on UBS. The only executive charged in the widespread, long term illegal scheme lives in Switzerland and is not subject to extradition.

Poor quality killed investing. Off balance sheet items can implode a company overnight. Fringe financial activities can bring a company down. Ask The Carlyle Group about SemGroup. It failed from hedging, forward looking contracts. Investors are on their own. It's buyer beware, nearly everywhere, investing, food, medicine, toys, and politics. What's next? (I gave the SEC a pass on Bernie Madoff and Sir Allen Stanford)