The SEC has stirred controversy with its new online tool that allows investors to search for companies with ties to countries the State Department has designated as “state sponsors of terrorism.” The official list includes Sudan, Syria, North Korea, Iran and Cuba.
The SEC initiated the online search site on June 25, with its Director saying that “no investor should ever have to wonder whether his or her investments or retirement savings are indirectly subsidizing a terrorist haven or genocidal state.”
However, some in the business community claim that some companies, including Baker Hughes and Immtech Pharmaceuticals, were wrongly placed on the SEC’s so-called terrorism “blacklist.” The list, they say, unfairly portrays a number of internationally-headquartered financial institutions and other corporations in a misleading, negative light and has been compiled without regard to the extent of their dealings, if any, with the five countries.
This action by the SEC will “needlessly discourage international firms from listing their securities in the U.S. at a time when (Treasury) Secretary Paulson and others are working to enhance the international competitiveness of our capital markets,” according to the head of a banking group.
Chalk this up as yet another outcry by the business community and Wall Street using the scare of lost company listings. Their real goal is to get yet another “get-out-of-jail-free” card to reduce legal, regulatory and other restraints sought to curtail “crime in the suites.”
By: William S Shepherd
William Shepherd is the founder of the law firm of Shepherd Smith and Edwards a securities law firm that represents investors seeking recovery of losses in their accounts at investment firms. If you or someone you know has suffered investment losses, contact Shepherd Smith and Edwards today.