The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s courtroom victory over ex-Goldman Sachs employee Fabrice Tourre is helping the agency turn the page on years of criticism that it isn’t holding Wall Street to account.
Bloomberg News reports that the win adds weight to pledges by SEC Chairman Mary Jo White to reinvigorate the regulator, seeking more onerous settlements in some cases and, if necessary, taking them to trial.
It also could bolster support for a 27% budget increase for the agency that Congress is considering.
'To take on cases that are low-hanging fruit and pound its chest in front of Congress is not the same as winning a high-profile trial', said Jacob Frenkel, a former SEC lawyer and now partner at Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker PA in Potomac, Maryland. 'It’s a tremendous shot in the arm for an agency that has come under criticism for its enforcement program'.
The SEC has struggled to repair its image after a decade of debacles that began with accounting fraud at Enron Corp. and ended with an unprecedented taxpayer bailout of Wall Street amid a credit crisis.
The intervening years included analyst and mutual-fund scandals unearthed by New York’s attorney general, and Bernard Madoff’s multibillion-dollar ponzi scheme, which the SEC missed despite repeated warnings.
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