Against high Hill drama, SEC chief mum on Goldman

April 27, 2010

First of all, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro would not talk about Goldman Sachs.

There was no drawing her out. The head of the agency that filed a civil fraud lawsuit charging that Goldman misled investors would not say a word about the case. GOLDMAN/

Quite the opposite from the high-drama being played out at the same time on Capitol Hill where Goldman Sachs executives were facing the fusillade at a Senate hearing, where one senator kept repeating “shi–y deal.” (There are two t’s missing from that word).

Schapiro in an interview at the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit just was not going to go there. “I’m not going to comment on Goldman,” she said before one reporter even got the question out.

Even while responding to a tangential question, she began by saying “put the Goldman case aside,” careful to make sure her answer would not be linked to the investment bank.

Asked whether this could be seen as the start of the SEC’s war on Wall Street, Schapiro replied: “Well first of all, I’m not going to comment on Goldman.  There is no war on anybody.”

She went on to say: “I guess what I would like to see is people take a big step backward and think about who are we here to serve, and how do we best serve them?”

She said innovation was a “remarkable quality” of the market and there had been a lot of “tremendous innovation” that had been good in the markets, but there also had been a lot of innovation for the purpose of generating fees and creating new structures to enhance return for the banks — “I really question whether there’s any benefit to that.”

“So I do think it’s a time for soul-searching, really for all market participants, and regulators as well,” she said.

Wonder if she meant Goldman too?

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (protesters at Senate hearing on Goldman Sachs), Reuters/Yuri Gripas (Schapiro on Capitol Hill July 2009)

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