“Frack Master” suit is a sign of bezzle shrinkage

June 27, 2016

The U.S. SEC says Chris Faulkner inflated his shale-oil company’s prospects, then blew $80 mln of investors’ money on dodgy expenses. Hard times tend to reveal bad boom-era behavior. The oil patch’s lax governance makes it an obvious place for regulators to hunt for culprits.

Congress’ insider traders finally out of excuses

November 16, 2015

A U.S. judge has ordered lawmakers to cough up evidence about a dodgy tip, ending more than a year of stonewalling and bogus claims of immunity. With Capitol Hill contemplating an even stronger ban on improper Wall Street trades, the least it can do is play by its own rules.

Wall Street owners finally get breakup bona fides

March 19, 2015

The SEC is allowing BofA shareholders to vote on whether to spin off Merrill Lynch. The watchdog previously muzzled similar requests at JPMorgan and elsewhere. Banks won’t like the scrutiny, but it’s a worthwhile debate to air publicly, as they’re running the numbers internally.

SEC gets tough on auditors and soft on China

February 9, 2015

Accounting firms will find it harder to keep paperwork on suspected Chinese fraudsters from the U.S. watchdog. Those that don’t try to help could face temporary bans. Yet the new approach leaves China plenty of scope to nix investigations. Investors are only a little better off.

U.S. insider trading cops risk pasting from bench

January 30, 2015

Prosecutors’ aggressive view of the law has already irked appeals judges, and the Supreme Court may be next. A case on the definition of an illegal tip could give Justice Scalia his long-sought chance to rein in Wall Street watchdogs. Their loss would be a win for clearer rules.

Twitter free-speech chirps carry overtone of risk

October 9, 2014

After its UK super-injunction tiff, the microblog is fighting to reveal secret U.S. demands for data. The two cases show that firms have power to resist being muzzled – or forced to speak. That’s a check on judicial and government overreach, but it could undermine regulation.

Guest view: Let sun shine on corporate donations

May 29, 2014

Fresh from governance wins on dual-class shares and golden parachutes, Teamsters boss James Hoffa is taking aim at the growing role of companies in U.S. elections. Investors ought to know about these campaign contributions, he says. And it’s up to the SEC to force disclosure.

Rob Cox: Coke takes fizz out of shareholder spring

By Rob Cox
April 24, 2014

Just as investors seemed to break through entrenched boards’ barricades, Coca-Cola owners - shockingly led by Warren Buffett - turned to jelly. A failure to challenge the transfer of vast wealth to 6,400 Coke soda jerks shows the agency problem still plagues Corporate America.

Reform bill could make “incoherent” SEC irrelevant

August 4, 2011

At least one U.S. lawmaker seems to want the "incoherent" Securities and Exchange Commission to become irrelevant. The regulator has had its problems. But a Republican bid to reshape it seems designed to hinder, not help.

The Avon lady needs to look in the mirror

October 28, 2011

Andrea Jung may be a powerful figure in U.S. business, but as CEO of the $8 bln cosmetics company she has twice failed to turn it around. Never mind the federal probe into possible wrongdoing, Avon’s dismal performance is reason enough for Jung to give someone else a chance.