A certain amount of fatalism always seems to creep in whenever the government promises a new fix for something perceived to be ailing the financial system and capital markets. Back in 2002, when Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the big problem was the auditing profession, which had been exposed as an oxymoron by Enron Corp. and other corporate frauds. Today the hot topic is the banking industry and the matter of proprietary trading, the definition of which is evolving.
After Sarbanes-Oxley was adopted, the Securities and Exchange Commission and a new regulator, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, passed a bunch of rules on everything from new audit reports on companies' internal accounting controls to new restrictions on the types of nonaudit services that firms could sell to audit clients. It would be hard to make the case today that audit quality has improved.Read more »
Remember last year’s sad little Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony, when not a single living person was inducted into the Hall for the first time since 1965?
Good news! It won’t be another joyless summer in Cooperstown. Three living, breathing beings -- managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox -- have each had their tickets punched for immortality by the Hall’s Expansion Era Committee. All three will no doubt be on hand next July to receive their plaques, and to regale a large crowd with charming anecdotes from their illustrious careers.Read more »
If Mathew Martoma was ever going to strike a deal with the government and turn against his former boss, Steven A. Cohen, he probably would have done it a long time ago. The odds that he ever will look even more remote now.
Lawyers for Martoma, the former SAC Capital Advisors fund manager, filed excerpts from a May 2012 deposition in which Cohen told attorneys for the Securities and Exchange Commission that he decided to sell SAC’s stakes in Wyeth and Elan Corp. based on advice from the head of a different hedge fund. Martoma’s insider-trading trial is scheduled to begin next month. His lawyers say the previously undisclosed testimony shows Martoma wasn’t involved in Cohen’s decisions on the trades.Read more »
Recently, there's been some back and forth among Jonathan Chait, Ross Douthat and Timothy Carney over the film "12 Years a Slave" and the persistence of racism. All three posts are worth reading, with Douthat and Carney holding up the conservative high-end of a discussion that typically consists of two circular questions: Why do conservatives continue to abet racism in their ranks? And why do liberals insist on calling conservatives racist?
Perhaps the most eloquent response is found in Friday's Wall Street Journal, which seems to have inadvertently stumbled into the argument. Like a drunk walking home with a lantern, the paper's review of Timothy N. Thurber's new book, "Republicans and Race," is enlightening if you can follow the staggered trail of logic.Read more »