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Can the SEC learn from its mistakes?

All too often, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission gives its critics plenty of ammunition to complain about.

The SEC’s spectacular failure to detect the massive Ponzi scheme being run by Bernie Madoff is only the most high-profile miss by the agency. Over the years, the nation’s top securities cops have been slow to police abusive trading by hedge funds and spread of complex structured products–including subprime ones–churned out by Wall Street banks.

But it appears when it comes to handling tips and complaints from the public, the SEC may be learning from its mistakes and getting its act together. A new computerized database for processing tipsĀ  about corporate and securities fraud is winning praise from some of the SEC’s most vocal critics. The SEC’s new approach is even making a believer out of Madoff tipster Harry Markopolos.

For more on the SEC’s new database and its closer partnership with the SEC read our story here.