SEC Report on Credit Ratings Highlights Conflict of Interest Inherent in Issuer-Pays Model

By: Wednesday December 19, 2012 1:38 pm

The Securities and Exchange Commission released a report on the method for how credit rating agencies get their business, something mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. And just as expected, it showed a serious conflict of interest in the current business model, where rating agencies are paid by the issuer of securities, and have to compete for their business, adding all sorts of distortions into the kinds of ratings they give. A better model, envisioned by Dodd-Frank at first but then put into this study, would allow an oversight board to dole out to qualified ratings agencies the securities that would get rated, removing the conflict of interest entirely.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sheila Bair, Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street From Wall Street and Wall Street From Itself

By: Sunday November 18, 2012 1:59 pm

Bull by the Horns is the story of financial calamity seen from the perspective of this public servant, rendered from detailed notes. We learn with whom she met, what was said, what decisions taken, and how things turned out. She begins with the battles over deregulation of the banks (Basel II), with the gathering sub-prime storm, and proceeds through the disaster: WaMu, Wachovia, Citigroup, Bank of America, AIG, Citigroup again. And then the battles of the aftermath, over among other things Dodd-Frank, Basel III and the robosigning frauds. This is a book for aficionados of infuriating detail.

Obama vs. Taibbi: Obama’s Defense of Dodd-Frank Falls Short

By: Monday October 29, 2012 12:40 pm

Taibbi is pretty polite about it, but Obama’s defense involves a lot of misdirection. It assumes that Lehman Brothers, by virtue of having failed, was the only financial institution out there responsible for the collapse, rather than an example of industry-wide behavior.

The Dearth of Democracy in America

By: Sunday October 28, 2012 10:30 am

This isn’t a participatory democracy. It’s the reality show of politics, with two guys battling it out over who gets to screw the public.

American Bankers Association Creates Slush Fund for Secret Campaign Spending

By: Thursday September 6, 2012 2:33 pm

The American Bankers Association, a trade group for thousands of banks headed by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, voted to start a legal entity for this federal campaign cycle, adding millions of dollars into an already overstuffed election.

The ABA entity would reportedly donate to existing Super PACs, so that the member banks can keep their donations secret.

The Democratic Platform’s Nonsense on Banks

By: Tuesday September 4, 2012 3:17 pm

The Democratic Platform seems to have missed the central point of the banking mess: the Obama administration did not investigate the disaster, and didn’t indict anyone for the crimes that led to the Great Crash. In fact, the administration specifically refused to follow up on criminal referrals from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission regarding one of the Goldman Sachs mortgage deals, saying as it always does, that it stinks, but isn’t a crime.

Whistleblower Provisions Can Be Applied Retroactively to Employees of Affiliates, Judge Rules

By: Tuesday July 10, 2012 12:20 pm

A United States judge ruled on Monday the whistleblower provisions passed in the Dodd-Frank law in 2010 could be applied retroactively to protect not only people employed by parent companies but also those working for subsidiaries of parent companies. The expanded coverage thus applies even to cases initiated before Dodd-Frank.

SEC Thinks Arithmetic Is Hard When Reporting CEO Pay

By: Monday April 9, 2012 3:30 pm

In an article on the staggering compensation of CEOs of giant US companies, the New York Times notes arithmetic is too hard for the SEC. The Dodd-Frank bill requires corporations to state the ratio of CEO pay to the median income of employees of the company, but firms tell the SEC that calculation is too hard. Here’s how you do it.

Bank Group Says Agencies Should Use Delay and Weak Regulations to Undermine the Volcker Rule

By: Thursday February 16, 2012 11:30 am

The Volcker Rule limits the ability of giant banks to destroy the economy. Their tool lobbyists explain how bankers stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Way of making money with taxpayer guarantees.

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