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Posts Tagged ‘integrity’

RE2PECT for The Game

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 15th, 2014 8:00 AM |

Today I take a break from our normal navigation of the economic landscape to reflect and pay re2pect. This evening the MLB All-Star game will be played in Minneapolis. 

Growing up as a sports nut in Boston in the late ’60s and ’70s, one of my favorite days and events of the summer was baseball’s Midsummer Classic. I distinctly recall watching the greats of the game including Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, our own Carl Yastrzemski, and so many more. I recall as if it were yesterday hoping that whomever represented our Red Sox would have a great game.

While the individual All-Stars and their talents were superb, ultimately the game itself was the real attraction. Playing the game the right way was the thing to be truly admired. What was the virtue on display that seems to have passed as the years have gone by? Respect. (more…)

Brits Teach America Lesson on Credibility and Transparency

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 14th, 2010 2:25 PM |

Spending money one does not have and making promises one can not keep is no way to run a business let alone a country.

The changing of the guard at 10 Downing Street has also brought about a change in the willingness of the British government to face these realities. The reality of the British economy may not be pretty but it is real and it will not change based purely upon false hope and government artifice.

The Financial Times highlights the ‘tough love’ and ‘financial rigor’ that the regime of new British Prime Minister David Cameron is serving the British populace. (more…)

POGO Podcast Questions FINRA’s Transparency and Integrity

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 6th, 2010 12:24 PM |

Regular readers of Sense on Cents know all too well my questions and concerns about the lack of transparency at the Wall Street self-regulatory organization FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).

I am a big fan of promoting transparency in order to pursue integrity. Who else is a big fan of the same goals? The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) :

. . . an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government. (more…)

New York Times’ Thomas Friedman: “We Have to Demand the Truth”

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 22nd, 2010 6:05 AM |

Without the truth, we are mere slaves to a corrupt system and will never control or master our destiny.

I don’t write this premise whimsically nor do I accept it as a given. The fact is, our forefathers are rolling over in their graves right now given the fatuous culture our society has not only tolerated but promoted. I continually call for the pursuit of truth, transparency and integrity while navigating the economic landscape for the very reason that without these virtues we are doomed as a nation.

High five to AL for pointing out that none other than Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times drills this very point in writing, The Fat Lady Has Sung. Whether you agree with Friedman’s politics is immaterial.   (more…)

NASDAQ Sale: Why Would Schapiro and FINRA Execs Lie?

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 22nd, 2009 10:50 AM |

Writing about the integrity, or lack thereof, of a senior governmental official and other high ranking financial regulators is a serious topic. Given the seriousness of this topic, I do not treat it lightly. For newer readers here at Sense on Cents, I am referring to the commentary I wrote this past Monday entitled, Attorney Richard Greenfield Brands Mary Schapiro and FINRA Execs As “Liars.”

If in fact Ms. Schapiro and her FINRA colleagues lied, what was their motivation? We learn more about this amazing financial intrigue as on Tuesday a redacted version of a Second Amended Complaint brought on behalf of Standard Investment Chartered and all others similary situated  v FINRA, NYSE Group, Mary L. Schapiro, Richard F. Brueckner, T. Grant Callery, Todd Diganci, and Howard M. Schloss was made public.

Recall that the core of this complaint is a charge made by plaintiffs against defendants regarding the inappropriate allocation of proceeds generated from the sale of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. That sale generated approximately $1.5 billion. FINRA paid out $35k per firm to approximately 5100 member firms for a total of approximately $175 million.

Why would the defendants be motivated to withhold the balance or a large percentage of the balance of those funds from the member firms? (more…)

My Letter to Judge Jed Rakoff in re: Benchmark and Standard Investment Chartered v. FINRA

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 15th, 2009 8:38 AM |

On October 6th, I attended a public hearing relating to complaints filed by Benchmark Financial and Standard Investment Chartered v FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). This hearing was held in the United States Courthouse in New York City. The core of these complaints is the distribution that FINRA (NASD) made to its member firms from proceeds generated from the IPO (initial public offerring) of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

A major topic at hand in this case is the release of unredacted documents from FINRA. What are unredacted documents? Documents in which certain key segments are not edited or withheld.

These complaints were recently reassigned to Judge Jed Rakoff. He has received significant attention given his ruling in a case involving the SEC and Bank of America. Judge Rakoff commented that the business periodical Barrons had expressed an interest in the Benchmark and Standard Investment Chartered case versus FINRA. The point being that Barrons represents a public interest.

I sent a letter to Judge Rakoff yesterday requesting the release of unredacted documents from FINRA. I share my letter with you, the readers of Sense on Cents, in the spirit of full disclosure and because I believe strongly that our financial regulators must provide full transparency. I view that issue to be the core of this case and thus of significant public interest.

LD

October 14, 2009

Honorable Jed S. Rakoff
United States Courthouse
500 Pearl Street
New York, NY, 10007

Re: Benchmark and Standard Investment Chartered v. FINRA

Dear Judge Rakoff,

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am currently a financial commentator. I operate my own website, Sense on Cents. The mission of my work and site is to help people ‘navigate the economic landscape.’ In light of the economic crisis and turmoil in our financial markets, I launched my site earlier this year in order to share my insights and experience with the public at large. What is my experience?

I am a Wall Street veteran of 23 years. I traded and sold a wide array of mortgage-backed securities. I worked at First Boston, Bear Stearns, UBS, Bank of America, and culminated my career in 2006 as the National Sales Manager for Securitized Products at JP Morgan. Having witnessed the decay in confidence in our financial system at large and our banks, brokers, and regulators specifically, I am hugely inspired to write and help people better understand the nature of our markets and economy. I certainly have not suffered from a lack of writing material.

I do not write for my former colleagues on Wall Street. My targeted audience is that cross–section of our country who wants to receive an unbiased and honest view of the markets and economy. My work has been extremely well received. In a relatively short time frame, I have thousands of people accessing my site. I take real pride in my work.

I am writing to you currently given my interest and that of many of my readers in the transparency or lack thereof in the financial industry overall. A keen area of interest for me and many readers is the lack of transparency specifically in the regulatory oversight of Wall Street. While working on Wall Street, I did not fully appreciate this lack of transparency. For the last eight months I have gained a real appreciation for it.

I have extensively studied the annual reports of FINRA and its parent organization, the NASD. I was flabbergasted to learn that this self-regulator is truly a large financial entity unto itself. In reviewing its finances, I have raised serious questions about potential conflicts of interests and questionable investment activities. At almost every turn, FINRA has largely rebuffed calls for real transparency. The public deserves to have a fully transparent regulator overseeing Wall Street.

Against this backdrop and 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.

I thank you for allowing me to share my feelings. I recall your having referenced Barrons back on the 6th. Sense on Cents is not Barrons, but for the thousands who have shared their passionate feelings with me on this topic, I am obliged to serve their interest as well as those who have yet to find my site.

With all due respect.

Sincerely,
Larry Doyle
Sense on Cents
http://www.senseoncents.com/about/

P.S. If you care to sample some of my recent work, I respectfully submit:
>> Is Wall Street On the Up and Up? (October 3, 2009)
>> Is the Wall Street Cop, FINRA, Ready To Talk? (September 22, 2009)

Did Uncle Sam Intentionally Mislead the American Public?

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 5th, 2009 12:40 PM |

“You can’t handle the truth!!”

While the above line by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men may have made for good theatre, it makes for lousy public policy. Regrettably, Uncle Sam has utilized that approach in its initial disbursement of funds via the TARP (Troubled Asset Recovery Program).  That opinion is not strictly mine (although I do agree with it), but rather that of Neil Barofsky, the inspector general charged with overseeing the bank bailouts.

The New York Times sheds light on Barofsky’s feelings this morning in writing, Inspector’s Report on Bailouts Says Treasury Misled Public:

The inspector general who oversees the government’s bailout of the banking system is criticizing the Treasury Department for some misleading public statements last fall and raising the possibility that it had unfairly disbursed money to the biggest banks.

A Treasury official made incorrect statements about the health of the nation’s biggest banks even as the government was doling out billions of dollars in aid, according to a report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program to be released on Monday by the special inspector general, Neil M. Barofsky.

There is NO doubt that Uncle Sam, in the persons of Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers et al, has little confidence that the American public can handle the truth about the overall health of our banking industry.

That said, the lack of transparency and integrity as highlighted by Mr. Barofsky does not come without a cost. What is that cost? Lessened confidence in our regulators and our markets going forward.

I addressed these very topics of financial regulatory transparency and integrity on my radio show last evening. In the process of interviewing former SEC attorney Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, I made the following comment in regard to the statement put forth a month ago by SEC Inspector General David Kotz dealing with the SEC’s failures on the Madoff investigation. I said:

If that is the kind of face saving self-serving approach, people are going to call foul on it. The real cost is, and I think we are bearing this cost right now whether with the SEC or with FINRA, if you’re not going to be honest with us how can we fully trust that you’ll be honest on a going forward basis?

Now I’ll grant you I guess we don’t have much choice. What are we going to scrap the entire SEC or scrap the entire FINRA and start from scratch? Some people may say that’s what we want to do, but that’s obviously not going to happen.

It does get to the point where there’s got to be total transparency. There’s got to be total integrity. There’s got to be total accountability and if people haven’t done the job or are incapable of doing the job then you know what, for the long haul – and I’m not talking about the next six months but rather the next ten, fifteen, twenty years – people got to go and other people got to come!!

Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot responded:

“I agree. That’s true.”

How about you, what do you think? Can you handle the truth? Wouldn’t you like to be given the opportunity?

LD

Note: the views expressed by Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot during last night’s show are her own personal views and do not in any way reflect her position as an employee of the Federal Reserve Board.






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