Waivers from the SEC that have allowed big banks to plead guilty to massive frauds and continue to do business–never mind continue receiving preferential treatment, government contracts and Treasury support–are an outrage and an abomination to the rule of law on which our society is predicated.
Smaller firms have been broken up and received lifetime bans and incarceration for the individual actors, for much smaller scale frauds. We simply cannot afford to tolerate the big bank business model any longer. Senator Warren and a handful of other lawmakers have called for public hearings on whether banks guilty of rigging foreign exchange and interest rates and commodity markets should be allowed to continue in positions of trust managing retirement accounts.
Yesterday Warren wrote a letter to SEC head Mary-Jo White (you can read it here) calling on White to do her job of enforcing securities laws against the big banks and stop granting them indefensible special concessions and waivers. See: US Senator Elizabeth Warren accuses SEC boss of weakness.
Today Better Markets, President, David Kelleher wrote a letter to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Chief Robert Ketchum pointing out that as the head of an organization mandated with investor protection and market integrity, it is utterly indefensible that at the bequest of finance sales firms, Ketchum has voiced opposition to the Department of Labor’s initiative to require fiduciary standard of broker/dealers offering retirement financial advice. Read Kelleher’s letter here in order to appreciate the clear authority that has long charged the Department of Labor with the power to set standards in this area. The law is clear. There is no gray area here, and yet still, the financial industry and its puppet regulators are continuing to block and denigrate this necessary standard.
Recall that it took relentless public shaming of the bank elites and their captured regulators in the 1930’s before meaningful reforms and break ups of the cartel were finally achieved. We must do the same now–every day, in every way–until the act to reinstate Glass Steagall-like protections is enacted. You can see the new act that has already been proposed here.
Also see: Stark facts on the nonsense of Too Big to fail safeguards and Pecora time has come again, and The Call to break up the big banks for a refresher on historical context for all of this.