Will Mary Schapiro Personally Review Every SEC Filing From Now On?

Monday, March 29, 2010 , , , 1 Comments

 Mary Mary, why ya buggin?
Felix Salmon knows why

Good call, SEC, I'm sure focusing on frauds that have already happened is a really productive use of the Commission's precious time and energy. It's not like criminals haven't already come up with new, easier to hide methods to execute their financial misdeeds.

Better start signing those SEC filings with "love ya, Mary!"

Business Week:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will examine whether Wall Street firms used accounting strategies like Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s transactions that allegedly hid leverage, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said.

“We are looking at the Lehman activities very, very carefully,” Schapiro said today in a CNBC television interview. The regulator plans to review “every major financial institution very thoroughly” in coming weeks, she said.

The SEC’s Corporation Finance division, which monitors company disclosures, released a letter today that it is sending to finance chiefs at about two dozen firms. The letter asks how often the companies use transactions similar to Lehman’s, how they account for them and whether the dealings are concentrated in specific countries or with specific counterparties.

Because Lehman didn’t disclose the accounting, the firm’s financial statements were “deceptive and misleading,” Valukas concluded. Regulators haven’t accused Lehman and its former executives of wrongdoing over the transactions.

So, uh, is this honor system regulating, then?

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


What more can one say about the SEC, which has been too busy with tackling matters after the fact. Even this approach appears to be misplaced, as it will look to prosecute matters which until now may not have been illegal and for which many of these major financial institutions have taken internal actions to address so that they don't have a situation similar to that of Lehman Brothers. This would appear to be another instance where the SEC will mismanage their limited resources, being late to the party and prosecute something that doesn't require prosecution, simply because for public appearances it looks like they are doing their job. The SEC needs to focus its energies on real, substantive investigations that will protect public investors.