Financial reform? How about some indictments?

We don't need new regulations we need enforcement of the ones we already have.

By Jim Van Meerten Apr 26, 2010 10:49AM
I really get upset when people offer suggestions with no thought behind them. Everyone in Washington keeps insisting that to fix the financial markets we need more rules and regulations and a lot more bureaucracy. My idea is that all we need is for the alphabet soup to start doing their job.

Investing in publicly traded companies should be a level playing field. We should all be able to read an annual report, other public filings or press releases and narrow our investments to companies that are having real increases in their sales and earnings. The problem is the alphabet soup did not do their job. Financial statements and press releases were worthless.

Who is the alphabet soup? I'm talking about CEOs, CFOs, CPAs, CFAs, SEC and of course S&P. All these people had a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that the press releases and public filings on publicly traded companies fairly represented the true financial results of the companies they were responsible for.

Over the weekend it was reported that a Moody's analyst and a Merrill Lynch investment banker exchanged emails that negotiated fees and the resultant ratings of securities. Higher ratings and higher fees should not be negotiated. A higher fee for a higher rating is a bribe in my book. If this report is true I think the prosecutors at the SEC should be sending out some applications to become a cell mate for Bernie Madoff.

Any of the alphabet soup that traded their fiduciary responsibility to the investing public for financial gain whether it be a higher salary, more profitable stock options, higher fees or continued employment needs to lose their jobs and receive an indictment. What they have done was not negligence it was out right fraud.

I don't want another committee or more rules, I want the current rules to be enforced. Those that broke them need to go to jail.

Mr. President, you can't give back to the investors the money they lost so how about some satisfaction of knowing that if you broke the rules you will be prosecuted and jailed. Send out the warning. Let's see some pink slips at the SEC and some indictments sent to the rest of the alphabet soup.

On a lighter note in my Wall Street Survivor portfolio I dumped Huntsman (HUN) for failure to maintain a price above its 50 day moving average and replaced it with Franklin Electric (FELE). They make submersible pumps and lately have had positive price action. Analysts are predicting not only increased sales but EPS growth of 34.10% this year, 20.20% next year and 14.00% for the next 5 years.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com.

Disclosure: No positions in the stocks mentioned
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