THE SEC: AT A CROSS ROADS ON A HOLIDAY WEEKEND
On Friday July 3, 2009, the markets, courts, SEC and most businesses are closed in celebration of the July 4th holiday. At this half way point in the year, the Securities and Exchange Commission is at a cross roads.
On one road there are far reaching market reform proposals authored by the Treasury Department and the Administration which would give the SEC significant new authority. Consistent with these proposals, the new SEC Chairman is working hard to seize the moment, proposing significant and potentially far reaching new rules, while trying to put the embattled agency on the road to once again being a premier regulator.
On another road is the enforcement program which continues to be rocked by revelations of failure. The story in The Washington Post on July 2, 2009 (here, registration required), detailing additional Madoff related failures is just the latest sad tale for the once proud enforcement division. There are reports that the program is being revamped, revitalized and has a new tone at the top which will put the division on the road to restoration. Yet, there are few positive results from the dozens of market crisis investigations the division reportedly has been conducting for months. To be fair, revitalizing enforcement is not a short term project. It takes time. The clock is ticking however. It needs to get on the right road.
Whether these two roads will merge in the future and become the yellow brick road that returns the SEC to being top cop of Wall Street and an effective protector of investors and the markets remains to be seen. At this half way point in the year however, it is appropriate to set all of this aside, pause and enjoy the holiday weekend.
Happy Holiday To All!