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Enforcing securities laws

Bloomberg has reported:

~~~~ “The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hired Adam Storch, a 29-year-old former employee in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s business intelligence unit, as the enforcement division’s first chief operating officer, according to people familiar with the decision.

The COO, who started Oct. 13, has “a great deal of background” in technology and managing processes and the pace of work, Robert Khuzami, head of enforcement, said yesterday in Washington. Storch, who worked since 2004 in a unit at Goldman Sachs that reviewed contracts and transactions for signs of fraud, will be charged with making the unit more efficient. Storch, reached by telephone at the SEC, declined to comment.”~~~~

I welcome Mr. Storch and his expertise to the SEC… the real abuses in the financial markets are systemic activities that are often overlooked by regulators but harm substantial numbers of investors…

I point specifically to the investigation and enforcement of the auction rate securities market which the SEC undertook in 2006 and 2008… This work involved the prosecution of multiple firms including Goldman Sachs, Mr. Storch’s alma mater, but addressed core issues about our markets.

These core issues are investor protection and fair efficient markets. In the case of auction rate securities these markets were essentially “rigged” on a weekly basis by the dealers who maintained them … some in the dealer community may have tricky arguments why ARS are cost effective for borrowers but in the end they were closed, special interest pools maintained for the dealers benefit.

I’m holding Mr. Storch to a higher level of accountability given his connection to Goldman Sachs.

I’m sharing with him these words that I put on a new section of Riski related to “economic morals”

“To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity.

To take a stand for the common good is on the one hand to be solicitous for, and on the other hand to avail oneself of, that complex of institutions that give structure to the life of society, juridically, civilly, politically and culturally, making it the pólis, or “city”.

The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them.”

Source: “Caritas in Veritate”

The American people have been preyed upon by Wall Street through numerous schemes. Mr. Storch and his new colleagues at the SEC are responsible to protect investors from schemes such as auction rate securities. Fair, open and transparent markets for all asset classes and rigorous disclosure regimes are vital. I wish him well in his new efforts. The future economic prosperity and stability  of our nation rely on his most vigorous efforts.