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Where Is Finra’s 2008 Annual Report?

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 8th, 2009 10:33 AM |

Finra released its 2007 Annual Report in mid-April 2008. Here it is June 8, 2009 and Finra has yet to release its 2008 Annual Report. What is going on? Aside from speculating, I called Finra this morning to inquire.

A source from within Finra’s Media Source division informed me to call back in a month. I questioned how and why in a period of economic and market dislocation, and with a heightened sensitivity on increased regulatory transparency, that Finra is being less transparent. I received a healthy dose of red tape and little direction.  I have a call into Finra spokesman Herb Perone. That said, June 8, 2009 and no Annual Report.  “Call back in a month.”

Why do I want to review Finra’s 2008 Annual Report? I know that fines and sanctions collected by Finra diminished by approximately 30% over the last year. The WSJ highlighted that information and I expounded upon it in writing, How Courageous is Mary Schapiro? My specific area of interest is a review of Finra’s investments within their own internal portfolio.

Recall that from their investment portfolio, Finra sold $647 million (position as of year end 2006) of Auction Rate Securities in Spring 2007. What did Finra do with their investments in hedge funds, fund of funds, private equity, common equities, and fixed income? Would Finra be so forthcoming as to provide insight as to why they needed to raise all that cash from the Auction Rate Securities liquidation?

Our markets and economy are screaming for increased transparency and regulation in an attempt to reinstill a measure of investor confidence.

Finra is prominently situated as a Wall Street regulatory body. Finra is currently being less transparent than a year ago. Why? Ms. Schapiro at the SEC and Richard Ketchum, new head of Finra, can TALK all they want about increased transparency and stiffer regulations. Talk is cheap. Information is everything.

“Call back in a month…” does NOT get it done.

LD






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