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Archive for April, 2014

Elizabeth Warren Exposes Larry Summers: The Game Is Rigged

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 30th, 2014 8:34 AM |

Why is it that our nation does not have real statesmen in public service?  Why is it that very real corruption and scandal — legal and otherwise — have gained a stranglehold on our political process? Why is it that an SEC attorney states at his retirement sendoff that “the system is broken?”

Say what you want about Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), her politics, and her personal foibles, but she provides a national public service in exposing the fraud that is disguised as Washington politics in her new book, A Fighting Chance.

Credit to The New York Times’ acclaimed financial journalist Gretchen Morgenson for launching into the charades played by those in Washington who profit personally while America grows increasingly disenchanted if not totally disgusted. Senator Warren uses the same term to characterize our political process as recently used by Michael Lewis in describing our equity markets.

“The game is rigged and the American people know that. They get it right down to their toes.”  (more…)

Sense on Cents Instant Classic: SEC Commissioner Stein Accuses Agency “Strayed From Its Mission”

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 29th, 2014 9:11 AM |

“Financial institutions that are ‘too big to fail,’ combined with politicians who are too compromised to govern and regulators who are too captured and corrupted to protect, produce an incestuous cabal that is simply too big to trust.” pg 187,  In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy

America is now well attuned to the fact that Wall Street banks that are ‘too big to fail’ are also ‘too big to regulate’, ‘too big to prosecute’, and ultimately ‘too big to trust.’ Of this there is absolutely no doubt.

As if those injustices were not too much to bear, we learn this morning that these banking behemoths are now also ‘too big to bar.’ How is that? With major props to one of the few lone voices crying for integrity inside the regulatory ‘tollbooth’ that is the SEC, I welcome giving SEC Commissioner Kara Stein real credit for standing up and speaking out on this ‘too big’ topic. The following statement is a little lengthy but oh so worth it. Let’s navigate as Commissioner Stein issued a dissenting opinion on the SEC website that qualifies as an instant Sense on Cents classic:  (more…)

FINRA Enforcement Chief Brad Bennett on HFT, “Better To Be Silent and Thought a Fool . . .”

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 28th, 2014 9:27 AM |

In today’s version of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” we hear from Brad Bennett, the Head of Enforcement at Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization FINRA. Bennett and others spoke on a panel this past Friday at a conference sponsored by the Practicing Law Institute.

On the hot button topic of high frequency trading, Bennett weighed in with a comparison that is so dismissive as to defy credulity. Let’s navigate as the folks at Wealth Management were there to cover and reported:

Benefiting from faster access to the markets is akin to buying a first-class plane ticket, and doesn’t sound unfair, said the top cop at Wall Street regulator FINRA.  (more…)

The Fascinating Case of Louis and Donna Pitch v. Mark “Hollywood” Hotton and Oppenheimer and Co.

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 25th, 2014 7:27 AM |

In a case that strikes at the core of so much that is wrong on Wall Street and the financial regulatory system (SEC and FINRA), Susan Antilla once again distinguishes herself by bringing real light to a regulatory arbitration system that much prefers to operate in darkness.

The following case might appear to be fodder for an episode of CSI but is all too real for a Long Island couple who were little more than prey for an unscrupulous broker who went largely unchecked both by his employer and the regulator charged with protecting the public from the likes of this scum.

Let’s navigate as Antilla writes Case Closed in Securities Dispute, Until New Evidence Is Uncovered:

A Long Island couple who lost $5 million at the hands of Mark C. Hotton, the former stockbroker notorious for defrauding Broadway producers, is arguing that his employer, Oppenheimer & Company, withheld critical evidence during an arbitration hearing and should be held liable. (more…)

Bill Moyers on the American Oligarchy

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 24th, 2014 11:15 AM |

Prior to correcting a problem, one needs to identify and expose it. That said, bringing about real change is challenging when the interests of those charged with protecting and promoting the public interest are outweighed by their personal pursuits and willingness to trade their position for payoffs.

Make no mistake, this reality is ultimately a failure of leadership on so many levels. Bill Moyers offers a few minutes of cutting commentary on the growing presence of an American oligarchy.

The quid pro quo system of governance practiced by our elected officials and regulatory executives allows for a host of corruptible practices including a tax structure that does not advance our national interests, economic and otherwise. (more…)

Chris Whalen: True Perpetrators in Michael Lewis’ Tale of Wall Street Greed and Corruption Are Congress, SEC, FINRA, Major Exchanges

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 23rd, 2014 8:23 AM |

Today I am pleased to elevate author and investment banker Chris Whalen into the highest echelon of the Sense on Cents Hall of Fame.

Whalen distinguishes himself as he properly frames the ongoing debate surrounding the scandalous practices within high frequency trading in a recent commentary that ran at Zero Hedge entitled, In “Flash Boys” Michael Lewis Misses the Point — Deliberately.

Let’s navigate as Whalen further exposes how our public officials and regulators charged with protecting the public interest are really “in bed with Wall Street.” (more…)

Clinton Presidential Documents c.1998: “Who’s on First?”

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 22nd, 2014 2:27 PM |

Every now and then I come across a document or statement that simply stops me in my tracks. In the process of pondering the weight and importance of the embedded message, I am typically left totally aghast.

Today I had one of those experiences as I continued to review the treasure trove of material in the recently released documents from the Clinton Presidential Library. From a document covering the work of the Council of Economic Advisers, I almost spilled my coffee when I read the following: (more…)

Clinton Presidential Documents on Glass-Steagall Repeal: No Good Reason For Doing This

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 21st, 2014 9:44 AM |

I do not think there is any single piece of legislation in the last 50 years that has had such a profoundly detrimental impact on the American public than the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act separating commercial and investment banking.

That repeal is certainly not the sole factor that led to the economic crisis of 2008 and the ongoing pain we experience today, but it was certainly critical to the eventual meltdown. There is no great revelation in that assessment.

The recent release of documents from the Clinton Presidential Library provides real transparency on the dynamic at play back in the mid to late ’90s that led to the eventual dismantling of Glass-Steagall. Perhaps no surprise that we have yet to see meaningful review of these documents from media outlets on our side of the pond, but the UK-based The Guardian hits these revealing documents hard.


SEC Failures in Systems and Controls: Matter of National Security

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 18th, 2014 7:20 AM |

As I sit here collecting my thoughts in the early morning hours of April 18, 2014, I think back to the chilling days of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.

Most reading this will certainly never forget the tragedy that is forever known as 9-11. However, that fateful day was foreshadowed 8 years prior when another World Trade Center bombing took place. Both attacks were clear-cut indications that terrorist forces were at work to assault American interests by massively disrupting activity on Wall Street. We live with this reality each and every day knowing that these same forces remain at work.

After the attack of 1993, Wall Street firms began implementing significant measures for disaster recovery programs and information systems controls. Against that 20 plus year backdrop, I have to admit I am bewildered if not totally dismayed this morning. Why so? Stick with me here.  (more…)

FINRA Broker Check: Watch Your Wallet, Folks

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 17th, 2014 10:54 AM |

Of all the questions facing investors these days, I would think two of the most important are: (1) with whom are you doing business? (2) how much are you paying for the investment product being pitched to you?

Watch this 6-minute clip and you will understand why I write at length, both at my blog and in my book, on the need for real transparency on Wall Street and especially within the regulatory system so as to help people avoid the perils and pitfalls that inevitably come their way when unsavory characters call on them.

I touched on this topic a few weeks back to expose the fact that Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization FINRA allowed close to 97% of the data on its Broker Check system to be “expunged” over a two and a half year period (mid-2009 to late 2011).

What might they have allowed the industry to hide in doing so? Even the host takes a less than subtle shot at FINRA in this segment.

Watch your wallet, folks.

Navigate accordingly.

Larry Doyle

Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book, In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy.

For those reading this via a syndicated outlet or by e-mail or another delivery, please visit the blog to comment on this piece of ‘sense on cents.’

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The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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