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Posts Tagged ‘regulatory oversight’

CFTC’s Scott O’ Malia ‘Blows The Whistle’

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 8th, 2014 1:19 PM |

What does it say about a regulatory oversight system when individuals from inside start to ‘blow the whistle?’

I think it speaks volumes that all is not well, and somebody better start to really pay attention and take some meaningful action.

A month or so ago we heard from retiring SEC attorney James Kidney voicing real concerns in describing the commission as little more than a “tollbooth on the banksters’ turnpike.” Now we hear CFTC (Commodities Futures Trading Commission) commissioner Scott O’ Malia also blowing the whistle. Let’s navigate as Pensions and Investments highlights O’ Malia’s siren call:  (more…)

It’s the Economy, Stupid!!

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 16th, 2009 9:05 AM |

The American public is becoming increasingly wise to the ways of Wall Street and Washington.

Many Americans were duped by financial practices and products emanating from Wall Street. Where was Washington? I would assess Washington’s involvement and responses in the following fashion:

1. At worst, Washington was complicit given a wide array of failed public policy programs, especially in housing. These public policies were largely ‘greased’ by lobbying dollars and campaign contributions.

2. To a large extent, Washington was negligent in terms of oversight, especially on the financial regulatory front.

3. At best, Washington was naive given a general lack of understanding of markets and finance.

The American public is now responding in appropriate fashion. How so? In increasing numbers, they are choosing not to play the Wall Street game. What game is that? Active trading and investing. While the numbers of pure day traders may have increased, the American population at large is focused elsewhere. Where is that focus? On the economy at large and on their individual pocket books.

Washington’s focus on Wall Street and its selling of the market rebound as reflective of a return towards prosperity is a product that will not fly . . . try as they might. Why?

It’s the economy, stupid! Reports this morning indicate that wages will likely show the greatest decline since 1991. Even in the face of declining wages, consumers’ purchasing power is being further eroded by the continuing decline in the value of the dollar. That decline is inflationary which hurts consumers but it continues to present a very cheap funding vehicle for those who want to use the greenback to employ leverage in the markets. Who has the advantage in that process? The large banks. Do they spread that wealth in terms of increased credit and higher savings rates? Now why would they do that?

The American saver and consumer shouldered the cost of the bank bailouts in 2008. They are now shouldering the cost of the wealth transfer to the banks in 2009. While Washington would like to sell this dynamic differently, the American public gets it.

Washington will continue to sell this dynamic at its peril.


Real Regulatory Review: “Gut Check”

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 20th, 2009 6:00 AM |

The Washington Post reports the Administration Weighs Creating New Regulator for Financial Products.”

Will the new regulator merely address the effects of lax oversights in certain targeted financial products, or will the public get some satisfaction and the regulator address the causes of the massive regulatory breakdowns? I am not optimistic, but I am adamant to address this topic. The Post offers:

The proposal, which remains fluid, would centralize the enforcement of laws that protect consumers of financial products. That task currently is spread out across a patchwork of agencies, many of whom regard consumer protection as a low priority. Some financial products are not regulated at all.

Any proposal could also trigger a major regulatory turf war, with agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the banking regulators fighting to preserve authority. 

I am all for implementing effective regulation which levels the playing field and promotes free, fair, and equitable business practices. There is no doubt we need a thorough review of our existing regulations to see where they are sufficient and where they are delinquent. That said, as I wrote the other day, Future Financial Regulations: Not a Question of Sufficiency, But Of Transparency And Integrity.”  

In regard to housing finance, we need to develop effective oversight of the mortgage industry. We also need to accept the fact that our mortgage finance problems went a lot deeper than rogue mortgage brokers fraudulently underwriting unsuitable products to unsophisticated borrowers. If Obama and team really want to address the root causes, let’s return to the Congressional hearings throughout the 90s and up until 2006 and replay the testimony of the executives of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The simple fact is the Clinton administration, with Congressional backing, promoted increased rates of homeownership without simultaneously implementing the necessary safeguards in the mortgage origination and underwriting process. (more…)

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