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Finra messed up, what a shock


The report by Finra on its failure to detect the alleged Ponzi scheme at Allen Stanford’s offshore bank is no shock.

Finra makes the SEC look like an agressive regulator. And this should give anyone reason to pause when you consider that Mary Schaprio, the current Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, most recently headed-up Finra.

Schaprio tells us her mission is to beef-up the SEC’s enforcement procedures in the wake of its own failings on Stanford and more significantly its botched investigation–or non-investigation–of Bernard Madoff. Why didn’t she first do this when she was at Finra?

The report outling Finra’s missteps notes regulators failed to follow-up on claims made by former Stanford brokers that the CDs the firm’s offshore bank in Antigua was selling were either bogus or “too good to be true.” Going as far back as 2004, a number of brokers raised this claim in arbitration disputes they had with Stanford.

The SEC’s animal house


Mary Schapiro wants her lawyers and investigators at the Securities and Exchange Commission to go back to school. Specifically, she wants them to enroll in something she calls “fraud college.”

From what I gather, the SEC’s “fraud college” will be an intensive training program to help the agency’s employees better detect fraud. It’s not the worst idea. But as Bess Levin at Dealbreaker points out it does sound a bit silly.

The SEC is still lame


Don’t believe the hype about the new sense of “urgency” at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the SEC’s recent string of enforcement actions against Bank of America, General Electric and former AIG chieftain Hank Greenberg is part of a new get tough campaign by SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. But don’t believe it.

Flash Schumer scores a victory–almost


It appears Senator Chuck Schumer, aka Flash Gordon ,is going to get his way on the dubious practice of “flash trades.” Maybe.

Schumer says the Securities Exchange Commission has told him it is close to banning flash trades–a process in which some high-frequency trading desks get a few millisecond sneak peak at market trade orders. This practice has fueled allegations that some high-frequency trading desks are getting an unfair advantage and can frontrun the general market.