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Barrons, New York Times, and Sense on Cents All Request Transparency From FINRA

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 23, 2009 1:19 PM |

The drive for transparency in our financial regulatory system is gaining momentum. How so?

The complaint brought on behalf of Standard Investment Chartered v FINRA, NYSE Group, Mary Schapiro et al is receiving increased interest. As well it should. Why? As I have always maintained, for confidence to return to our markets and economy, it is imperative that we have transparency in our financial regulators and regulation.

In regard to this case, I wrote a Letter to Judge Jed Rakoff in re: Benchmark and Standard Investment Chartered v. FINRA on Thursday October 15th. I wrote:

. . . having attended the hearing in your chambers on October 6th on the above referenced case (I was the only member of the public or the press in attendance), I would request that you release unredacted documents pertaining to these complaints. The release of those unredacted documents would be of real public service. That service entails the ongoing public cry for real transparency in our financial industry at this time. That cry for so many of our citizens seems to go unheeded all too often. I could share dozens of comments left at my site echoing that cry.

I truly believe if a real measure of confidence in our markets and our economy is to return, it must be based on true transparency and integrity. While I have written extensively on the lack of transparency and integrity in our country, I don’t pretend to think that my site will change the landscape on this front immediately. That said, I am never discouraged to continue digging deeper, writing more, and asking the hard questions. On this front, I sincerely hope the adjudication of this case will highlight these qualities for all to see.

Barrons actually beat me to the punch and had requested a release of the same unredacted documents in a communication sent to Judge Rakoff on October 5th. Those interested in Barron’s request written by Jim McTague, the Washington D.C. editor, can access it here.

Today I learn that The New York Times is making the same request of FINRA. Stephen Labaton, senior writer for The New York Times in Washington D. C., made his request of Judge Rakoff this past Wednesday, October 21st. Those interested in the NYT request can access it here.

The drive for transparency in our financial regulatory system continues. With Barrons and The New York Times on board, that drive is gaining steam.

The American public deserves nothing less than total transparency and integrity in its markets, regulations, and regulators.


Related Sense on Cents Commentary:

Nasdaq Sale: Why Would Schapiro and FINRA Execs Lie? (October 22, 2009)
Attorney Richard Greenfield Brands Mary Schapiro and FINRA Execs as “Liars”
(October 19, 2009)

  • whoisjohngalt

    There is no safe harbor in this storm. It is a crooked game everywhere you look.

  • Larry,

    You’ve done a fantastic job of keeping the need for transparency alive. I commend you and can only hope that we begin to see a shift towards not only transparency but also responsibility and accountability.

    Perhaps as a result of the requests by you, Barrons, the NYT and the Madoff Coalition for Investor Protection we’ll find whether FINRA, as it’s been alleged, did indeed invest with Bernard Madoff while it was supposed to have been overseeing his business.

    For your information, I’m copying the letter that was sent by the Coalition to Grant Callery, VP and General Counsel for FINRA requesting an accounting of its investment portfolio. To date, I have received no response from Mr. Callery or FINRA.

    Dear Mr. Callery,

    On behalf of all those connected with the Madoff Victims Coalition as well as all investors with BMIS, I sincerely hope that you can help provide information that will help our cause for full and total restitution.

    We are working diligently to cover every angle in this travesty. While we acknowledge efforts of regulators since December 11, 2008, we remain concerned about the regulatory failings prior to that date.

    Many media outlets have highlighted the connections that Bernie Madoff and certain family members had with FINRA and its parent organizations. These media outlets, though, have not highlighted the fact that FINRA had an internal investment portfolio which had significant investments across common equities, fixed income (including Auction-Rate Securities), hedge funds, fund of funds, and private equity.

    Given the regulatory position of FINRA, its historical connections with the Madoff family, and the presence of the FINRA investment portfolio, we request that FINRA release all information on transactions within that portfolio over the last number of years. In fact, we would hope and believe that FINRA itself should feel obliged to release this information in the spirit of promoting transparency and integrity in this process.

    I thank you in advance for your consideration and prompt attention to this request. I look forward to your response.


    Ronnie Sue Ambrosino
    Bernard Madoff Victims Coalition

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