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Mary Schapiro Owes America Some Answers

Posted by Larry Doyle on December 21, 2009 8:47 AM |

Who is willing to ask the hard questions? Who is willing to call people out? Who is willing to fly in the face of the Wall Street-Washington incest? Regrettably, very few journalists and media outlets have the character and courage to truly serve the American public interest. Who is not lacking in the courage and character department? Bloomberg’s Susan Antilla.

Time and again, Antilla takes on Wall Street and the financial regulators. In my opinion, her finest piece of work comes out this morning. Susan Antilla writes, Hot Seat for SEC Chief Schapiro Won’t Cool Off:

The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission has a past that is fast coming back to haunt her.

Mary Schapiro’s story has none of the lurid details of philandering celebrity golfers or hedge fund titans who get sued by ex-wives for concealing marital money.

Her history and two pending lawsuits, though, raise an important question for investors: Is the woman who oversees the U.S. financial markets someone willing to fudge the facts to get things done?

If what I heard in federal Judge Jed Rakoff’s New York courtroom last week is even close to accurate, I’d say that it’s time for some serious conversations as to whether Schapiro is the person we should entrust to the top SEC job.

I totally concur. Mary Schapiro, the current SEC Chair and formerly the head of  FINRA, possesses a wealth of information on a number of topics for which America would like greater detail. What are some of these topics?

1. Did FINRA possess material, non-public information and act upon it in the liquidation of its $671 million auction-rate securities position in mid-2007 as the ARS market was failing?

2. Did FINRA invest its own funds in Bernard Madoff, as alleged in the complaint Amerivet Securities vs. FINRA.

3. What was the nature and full depth of Mary Schapiro’s relationship with Bernie Madoff? Bernie himself characterized Mary as a ‘dear friend.’

4. Did Mary Schapiro and her fellow FINRA execs lie verbally and in a proxy statement regarding the merger of the NASD with NYSE Regulation to form FINRA? The details of this are highlighted this morning by Susan Antilla. Additionally, here is a 2006 webcast promo of Mary Schapiro describing the plan to consolidate the NASD and NYSE:

Mary Schapiro owes the country answers. If we are ever to achieve a true measure of truth, transparency, and integrity in our markets, our economy, and our country, we must have the leader of our chief financial regulatory body embrace these virtues.


The fact that Bloomberg chooses to run this commentary at this point strikes me as critically important. Bloomberg clearly appreciates the importance of this story. I commend Bloomberg for running it. I strongly admire Susan Antilla for writing it and encourage her to keep bringing the heat on Ms. Schapiro.


What will Mary do??

Thoughts, comments always appreciated.


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