Texas Securities Commissioner Not Convinced SEC Has Reformed Itself Since Madoff Ponzi Scam

Denise Voigt Crawford, the Texas securities commissioner and current North American Securities Administrators Association president, says it isn’t evident that the US Securities and Exchange Commission has implemented key reforms to the issues that allowed the agency to fail to detect Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion ponzi scheme for almost 20 years. Speaking at the National Press Club on Friday, she accused the SEC of not doing enough to support legislation intended to increase investor protection.

Crawford claims staffers that work for the SEC hardly interact with investment fraud victims. Because many SEC employees would like to work on Wall Street, she contends that this makes it difficult for agency members to properly oversee a securities firm that could potentially become a future employer.

Seeking to make a number of changes to the financial-overhaul bill currently moving through Congress, NASAA wants states securities regulators to have jurisdiction over securities firms that manage up to $100 million in assets. It also wants broker/dealers, and not just investment advisers, to be subject to a fiduciary standard when giving investment advice. NASAA wants to terminate mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses that make investors to pursue their securities fraud claims in arbitration proceedings run by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Responding to Crawford’s comments, SEC spokesperson John Nestor called her statements “uninformed” and cited the agency’s proposal of the Investor Protection Act, its hiring of senior management, reforms made to internal operations, new rulemaking that is focused on investors, and an increase in investigations and penalties as among the numerous “dramatic” changes that the SEC has implemented since Madoff’s massive ponzi scam was discovered.

Related Web Resources:
State regulator: Jury still out on SEC post-Madoff, AP/Yahoo! News, December 4, 2009
2nd UPDATE:Texas Securities Regulator:’Jury Is Still Out’ On SEC Reform, Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2009
Texas State Securities Board

North American Securities Administrators Association

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