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Book Review: Is Wall Street Rigged? “Michael Lewis Is Just Scratching The Surface”

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 14, 2014 6:40 PM |

ValueWalkI appreciate anybody who takes the time and makes the effort to read and review my book, In Bed with Wall Street.

That said, I deeply appreciate those who in reading my book really seem to “get it” and are then willing to lay it on the line in “delivering it” in their review. On that note, Mark Melin of ValueWalk goes to the front of  the class.

Melin dives deeply into the material. I give him credit for reaching out to Wall Street’s self-regulator FINRA to get their take on some of my hard hitting charges detailed in the book. In regard to my long held assertion that FINRA engaged in insider trading in its liquidation of ~$650 million of auction-rate securities, a FINRA spokesperson commented to Melin: 

“FINRA sold its ARS investments more than six months before the market started becoming unstable.”

Let’s juxtapose that statement reported by Melin with one put forth by a FINRA spokesperson and highlighted in a Bloomberg commentary from April 2009:

Finra, responsible for educating and protecting investors, owned as much as $862.2 million of the debt before exiting the market in the spring of 2007, less than six months before auctions began to fail, according to spokesman Herb Perone.

Let’s see here. “More than six months” says one FINRA spokesperson in April 2014. While another one had asserted “less than six months” in April 2009.

You cannot make this stuff up folks.

So was FINRA misrepresenting the little they have shared with the public on this ARS liquidation then or are they misrepresenting now? Would they be willing to go under oath on this topic? Perhaps they might embrace a little bit of transparency and open their books and records to an independent outside audit so we can learn the truth.

Does FINRA care that there remain countless numbers of ARS investors still unable to fully access their cash from these supposed ‘cash-equivalent’ securities a full six-plus years after this market segment froze?

In his concluding remarks, Melin references the great work of renowned writer Michael Lewis and his recent book. I am gratified for obvious reasons by Melin’s statement:

Michael Lewis has accused Wall Street of being “rigged,” but he’s really just scratching the surface, as Doyle outlines in this excellent book.

Lewis sets the standard for all financial writers. I am currently reading his book Flashboys and thoroughly enjoying it. But I view high frequency trading and other forms of manipulation within a wide array of market segments as mere symptoms of the current Wall Street-Washington dynamic. What is the cause? As recently retired SEC attorney James Kidney laid out in his retirement  remarks, those running the SEC (and in my opinion FINRA, as well) are operating “little more than a tollbooth on the bankster turnpike.” In other words, the regulatory system is replete with executives who are incompetent, captured, and/or corrupted.

Book Review: Book Accuses FINRA of Insider Trading In Its $2 Billion Portfolio.

Larry Doyle

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

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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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