Tagged: US Congress

Goldman executives questioned

July 1st, 2010 in Banks 0 comments

Financial Crisis Inquiry ComissionThe Congressionally appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission exploring the 2008 crash questioned executives from Goldman Sachs, the world’s most profitable bank, about how much it makes trading derivatives — those complex financial bets that helped bring down the economy.  Goldman Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said they had no way of determining its derivatives data separately from trading in cash securities. But Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve bank examiner who teaches finance in the School of Management and is author of “Uncontrolled Risk” about the fall of Lehman Brothers, says he doesn’t buy it.

“For Goldman’s CFO to go before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and claim he doesn’t know what Goldman makes in derivatives trading is the equivalent of a major league pitcher not knowing his ERA.  Such a claim is shocking given how lucrative and central derivatives trading is to Goldman’s core business model.”

Contact Mark Williams, 617-358-2789, williams@bu.edu

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Financial regulatory bill agreed on

June 25th, 2010 in Law 0 comments

buy & sell keysHouse and Senate conferees finally worked out a compromise bill aimed at reshaping financial regulations to avoid another Crash of ’08, with a final vote set for next week and President Obama expected to sign it by July 4th.  As expected: many winners and losers.  One controversial provision gives the SEC authority to require stockbrokers to protect their clients’ interest when recommending investments, potentially subjecting brokers to the same fiduciary duty as financial advisers.  Law Professor Tamar Frankel, author of “Trust and Honesty: America’s Business Culture at a Crossroad” and authority on securities law, says it’s about time.

“It offers a chance and a challenge for the SEC to become the leader that it used to be from the 1940s until about 1980.  It is a chance to bring about a far more reliable financial system and to refocus on productivity rather than betting.”

Contact Tamar Frankel, 617-353-3773, tfrankel@bu.edu

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Deadline for financial regulatory reform

June 24th, 2010 in Banks 0 comments

bank genericCongress is down to its self-imposed deadline to come up with a financial regulatory reform bill, leaving some of the most controversial provisions — like how to deal with the trading of derivatives — to the final hours.  Law Professor Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law and a former counsel to the Fed Board of Governors, says that a Congress that couldn’t bring itself to enact meaningful reform legislation during the height of the financial crisis now seems to be panicking to pass what he sees as deeply flawed bill.

“Having lost the moment to make bold changes, the legislative process has become all about the November elections and very little about sound public policy.  Congress may well meet today’s deadline, but we won’t be the better for it.”

Contact Cornelius Hurley, 617-353-5427, ckhurley@bu.edu

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