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Wikileaks vs Wall Street

Posted by Larry Doyle on December 21, 2010 7:46 AM |

Will Wikileaks ‘regulate’ Wall Street in a manner that Washington never would or could?

The technological revolution over the last few decades has taken us far further and far faster than many ever would have believed. Just think of your daily regimen and the number of times you utilize technology and equipment that were mere dreams not long ago. Every lane on the ‘technological superhighway’ would clearly seem to be high-speed and E-Z pass only. As individuals travel this highway the world has gotten very small very quickly. Perhaps we could say that the world has become ‘illuminated.’

Similarly modern technology has also transformed the world of Wall Street specifically and business at large. Processing information and adapting to it happens at warp speed. The daily trading of securities on a global basis is a vastly different industry from that I joined in the early 1980s due to technology.

Where will this ‘technological superhighway’ take us next?

“Hold on.” “What’s that up ahead?” “Is the illumination on our ‘superhighway’ becoming too bright?” “Wait a second?” “Is this superhighway a two way thoroughfare?” “How did that happen?”

My oh my!! In fact the ‘technological superhighway’ is a two way thoroughfare and many in those Wall Street corporate offices and boardrooms may now regret that the ‘highway to heaven’ may actually lead them to ‘hell.’

To what do I refer? If we take a walk along this highway we now witness corporate titans lashing back at an entity, Wikileaks, that is using modern technology to bring a large measure of  transparency into operations which many would obviously have preferred to ‘keep in the dark.’

Really? Oh, yes!!

Case in point, currently Bank of America and other entities are now lashing back at Wikileaks for threatening to ‘illuminate’ industry practices. Let’s navigate as the Financial Times writes, Bank of America Joins the Fray Against Wikileaks,

Bank of America is blocking all payments intended for WikiLeaks, amid growing speculation that the whistle-blowing site will embarrass the finance industry next year as it has the US government by leaking thousands of private diplomatic cables.

“Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks,” BOFA said.

“This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments.”

In response, WikiLeaks called on its supporters to boycott Bank of America, whose shares have suffered from speculation that it could be a target for the site.

“We ask that all people who love freedom close out their accounts at Bank of America,” WikiLeaks said on its Twitter profile. “Does your business do business with Bank of America? Our advise is to place your funds somewhere safer.”

The site’s founder, Julian Assange, said on Friday that WikiLeaks would continue to release information about the financial services sector in spite of facing “attacks” by banks.

Wow!! This donnybrook has the potential to get very ugly.

I am not one to provide a blanket endorsement of a corporate entity, including Wikileaks. However, as we collectively navigate our economic landscape, I firmly believe that a never ending pursuit of truth, transparency, and integrity will benefit ALL people.

Those in offices and boardrooms on Wall Street, in Washington, and around the world may want to address and review the manner in which they embrace these virtues. If I were in their shoes, I would work quickly because the Wikileaks-led  traffic coming the other way on the ‘technological superhighway’ only seems to be gaining momentum and traveling faster.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own and not those of Greenwich Investment Management. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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