Commentaries

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Time for BofA to come clean

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It may be outrage fatigue, but it is surprising that there has not been more of a public outcry over whether Bank of America misled investors about its acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

Yes, there were three House committee hearings about the deal, but the focus of those was on whether the Treasury and Federal Reserve bullied Ken Lewis, the Bank of America, into closing the deal for the good of the financial system.

But how much did Bank of America know about the scale and direction of the selling losses at Merrill Lynch before shareholders voted on the acquisition on Dec. 5? Why didn’t the bank speak out about the agreement with Merrill on bonuses?

Now a federal judge wants to get some answers. Judge Jed Rakoff of the federal district court in Manhtattan has held up the settlement reached this week between Bank of America and the Securities and Exchange Commission over the bank’s disclosure on the Merrill bonuses, Reuters reports. The judge has ordered a hearing for Monday afternoon.

Cox’s charmed life after the SEC

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During the financial crisis, Christopher Cox was a Zelig-like creature, always somewhere in the background, but never seen to be doing anything of consequence.

After Bear Stearns collapsed, when Lehman Brothers edged toward the brink and the entire securities industry quaked, what was the major initiative of the Securities and Exchange Commission under Cox? A misguided effort to rein in short selling.

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