Brooksley Born is the lawyer who was chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from August 1996 to June 1999 when she lobbied Congress to give the CFTC oversight of the off-exchange markets for Derivatives. In doing so she became enemy number one of the financial sector and their representatives, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Fed Chair Alan Greenspan. Her battle for transparency and prudent controls in this area, was profiled in the 2010 FRONTLINE expose, “The Warning”, which is excellent and can be viewed here. In the end, the bankers won, Congress rejected regulation of the derivatives market, and Born resigned.
In her talk this week at the Finance & Society conference, Born updated on the ongoing battle to bring Wall Street under the rule of law. And warned about “the fallacious beliefs championed notably by Alan Greenspan that financial markets are self regulating and that financial firms are capable of policing themselves.” Here is a direct video link to her speech on Wednesday (which starts at 6:32 on the play bar) It is followed by some excellent comments by Anat Admati, professor of finance and economics at Stanford University, who helped organize the conference, and then a discussion between the two. All well worth watching. Honest assessments by such knowledgeable insiders in finance, are rare and valuable. (Born’s talk starts at 6:32 on the play bar)