Monday, February 04, 2013

‘SEC’luded from power

Transferring SEC’s power will not solve the problem in the US

T he aftermath of the current financial turmoil in the US can be gauged from the very fact that the institution formed to protect investors’ interests after the Great Depression, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now itself searching for protection! A legislation introduced earlier this year now aims at diminishing the power of the SEC by taking away its control of the entire gamut of financial products. As expected, the move, even before it was announced, has already spurred a high-voltage controversy between the various regulators. Mary Schapiro, Chairperson, SEC has announced that SEC would ‘profoundly’ question any move to strip it off its power. But the million dollar question remains, has SEC actually justified the powers bestowed on it?

Well, certainly not. Be it the decade old story of Enron or the latest of the lot, Madoff; SEC has failed to prove its pro-activeness. It was visible in the case of Enron and now one can hear the same for Madoff as well. SEC turned a blind eye to the entire issue of Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme despite repeated red signals being given from various agencies. Mary Schapiro asserts, “Different regulators have different perspectives and the best solutions come from the clash of varying viewpoints.” Well, aren’t things bad enough when the regulators are not getting in each other’s way?

Now the second critical question is who’s going to get those powers? Although nothing has been confirmed officially, it’s expected that the ball will land in the US Federal Reserve’s court. But, aren’t the Fed’s administrative abilities already in question ever since they allowed the banking ‘giants’ to jeopardise investor’s money by infusing them in sub-prime mortgage backed securities, which created the entire turmoil in the first place? Also, don’t you think that excessive concentration of power with the Fed may give rise to bigger troubles later, if it fails to handle the situation? So, what’s the solution then?

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012.
An Initiative of IIPMMalay Chaudhuri
and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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