Is Fraud the Key to Wall Street Success Today?

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,147

I'm really getting tired of writing about this stuff. I'm serious. It's really starting to wear on me. Fraud and criminal wrongdoing has become so prevalent on Wall Street over the past decade that no one even bats an eye at it anymore. In fact, 24% of Wall Street execs surveyed by Labaton Sucharow admitted that fraud is now a necessary component of success on the Street. If that statistic doesn't at least give you pause then you're probably one of the bad guys.

24 percent. That's just incredible to me. 70% of those surveyed said that regulators were so incompetent that they provide no deterrent to fraud whatsoever. In other words, there's a lot of reasons not to commit fraud but a fear of getting caught isn't one of them. It's a total free-for-all these days, and every bank on the street seems to be involved at the highest levels - be it the LIBOR scandal, MF Global, yesterday's news about PFGBest, or any of dozens of other blatant cases of fraud that have gone unpunished over the past five years.

"When misconduct is common and accepted by financial services professionals, the integrity of our entire financial system is at risk," Jordan Thomas, partner and chairman of Labaton Sucharow's whistleblower representation practice, said.

Fraud and misconduct has always been a part of the market. Always. The difference is, in my day anyway, the criminals used to be the little guys. Back when I was in the business, pretty much all the fraud was being committed by low-level employees of firms and when they were discovered they were fired and prosecuted. Today it's the guys running the firms who are committing all the fraud, and on a scale previously unimaginable.

I'm reminded of the S&L crisis back in the 80's, because that's the nearest approximation to what's going on today in recent history. The difference in both scale of the crises and the regulatory response is positively dumbfounding.

By this stage of the game in the S&L crisis (4 years into it), there had been 1,100 criminal prosecutions of top level executives which resulted in 839 criminal convictions. The FBI had opened over 5,000 investigations.

Any convictions of top level bank executives today? Naw. Today we just write these fuckers a check so they can keep fleecing the public and perverting the markets. What the hell happened? When did we stop giving a shit?

I'm starting to think that there's no way to save this industry. When a quarter of the guys at the top - a fucking quarter of them - say that fraud is not only okay but is essential to making a living, I think we've reached a tipping point.

I didn't mean for this to become a rant, I'm just sick to my stomach over this shit. If we don't get on top of this problem right now and start sending some BIG NAME guys to jail for life (preferably with total disgorgement), we may never regain the integrity of the market.

Or am I wrong?

Comments (42)

Jul 12, 2012

Too bad government work never pays well. They'd save money hiring better people to work at the SEC and other regulatory bodies so they catch fraud early rather than spending a ton of money trying to mitigate the damage and running around like a bunch of idiots. But you know what they say, "good enough for government work."

Jul 12, 2012

I disagree on the insider trading perspective. In the last 5 years the SEC has launched a shit ton of insider trading probes and not just on Rajaratnam and Gupta, whereas in the 80's the only names I can recall of are names like Milken and Levine (although I wasn't born yet.) The Feds have even resorted to investigating insider trading cases, with the same vigor as drug dealers and mob king pins (wire taps and lots of informants.)

My belief on this is that the increased volume of insider trading probes will not last, since insider trading is such a difficult crime to prosecute, my gut feeling is telling me, that the price of one insider trading conviction is equivalent to convicting half the people smuggling drugs in from Mexico. I'm think the Obama administration is just under immense pressure from the "99%" to arrest some people. But then again I may be wrong. The US government does not have a long history of sparing expenses.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

Jul 12, 2012

BlackHat,

I'm not sure I agree. I don't think you'd ever be able to pay government workers (specifically regulators) enough to attract the smartest most talented people. Industry will always pay them more.

What I think needs to happen is the penalties for fraud above a certain level need to be ratcheted up to one level below public execution. There has to be an effective deterrent in place if we ever want to get this under control.

Ireland springs to mind. I'm thinking of the CEO of one of the big Irish banks that went under. He was absolutely eviscerated. He was publicly shamed and can't show his face anywhere, and on top of that he is now completely destitute and literally has to get government approval for any loan above 550EU (about $700 USD).

That's how you remove the incentive for fraud at the top. At a minimum you make a bank CEO utterly destitute and put his entire family in the poor house. At a maximum is jail for life.

Jul 12, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

BlackHat,

I'm not sure I agree. I don't think you'd ever be able to pay government workers (specifically regulators) enough to attract the smartest most talented people. Industry will always pay them more.

What I think needs to happen is the penalties for fraud above a certain level need to be ratcheted up to one level below public execution. There has to be an effective deterrent in place if we ever want to get this under control.

Ireland springs to mind. I'm thinking of the CEO of one of the big Irish banks that went under. He was absolutely eviscerated. He was publicly shamed and can't show his face anywhere, and on top of that he is now completely destitute and literally has to get government approval for any loan above 550EU (about $700 USD).

That's how you remove the incentive for fraud at the top. At a minimum you make a bank CEO utterly destitute and put his entire family in the poor house. At a maximum is jail for life.

I think we did a good job with Bernie Madoff. We effectively ruined his entire family's lives, which may or may not have been uncalled for. I can't advocate for putting white collar crime up there with "real crime" unless the results cross over to basically causing an outcome like that of real crime. I don't think anyone should be going to jail for LIBOR fixing, the response was pretty appropriate IMO, especially considering it was government endorsed. Ponzi schemes seem to iron themselves out pretty well - either the guy kills himself or he blows up fantastically and we nail him for 10+ years (which is apparently not enough for some people for much less significant crimes, a la Raj who hardly caused anyone pain and suffering).

Insider trading, Ponzi schemes, corporate fraud... always been a part of the game. It's best to stay away from them, but I don't think we need to be lopping heads off when Steve Jobs backdates an option a couple months. As shareholders we picked the guy, as investors we chose the manager who ran the Ponzi without doing our homework, we smiled and handed Madoff money when he literally guaranteed 14% a year, etc. Then we act like we were conned out of our money. And in the instances where it really is a serious matter - Bernie, Enron, etc. - that impacts thousands and thousands if not millions of lives in a significant way, we respond pretty damn appropriately. And I don't think you're going to deter fraud by imposing stricter penalties (unless we're talking death sentence, which we never will be), since to the white collar crowd, 5-6 years is just as bad as life. At least that's what I learned from our Yale friend who poisoned himself after a verdict without even thinking about an appeal or how long his sentence was.

Jul 12, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

What I think needs to happen is the penalties for fraud above a certain level need to be ratcheted up to one level below public execution. There has to be an effective deterrent in place if we ever want to get this under control.

Why not public execution (the whole "cruel and unusual" constitutionality issue aside). Given severity and breadth of harm that large scale cases of fraud results in, death penalty is probably justified. At the least will serve as a pretty good deterrent.

Jul 12, 2012

Do you watch the Tour de France?

Jul 12, 2012

I visited the Bishop at church and he was a complete fraud. Not once did the fucker move diagonally.

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Jul 12, 2012
Nabooru:

I visited the Bishop at church and he was a complete fraud. Not once did the fucker move diagonally.

Just thank God you weren't a minor when you visited the bishop.

Note to self: Catholic priest jokes got old 10 years ago.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

Jul 12, 2012

People will try and take the easiest route to the greatest benefit by nature. In finance it just so happens that this often involves cheating. The problem is that the people employed by the regulators are usually either of lower calibre than the people in the banks / hedge funds, or trying to get a job there providing disincentive to go after them. Working in regulation or ratings agencies should be the pinnacle of the profession, not the bottom rung. Only then will the best people work there and the agencies will work properly.

Jul 12, 2012

From a forensic accounting perspective once a C-level rejiggs financials, it's near impossible to back it out perfectly hence the perpetual rejigging. It only takes one mistake and unfortunately people are not perfect and execs are people.

Jul 12, 2012

Existential angst? Alcohol withdrawal is part one, the next is when your head clears and you have real emotional reactions instead of a drugged response. Temper this with UNPLUGGING and walking in the park or something once in a while...I know this because I went through this. You have much to add as a cultural leader who's seen a lot of life, but keep yourself sane.

Edmundo Braverman:

Fraud and criminal wrongdoing has become so prevalent on Wall Street over the past decade that no one even bats an eye at it anymore.

This is the result of a culture of 'market friendly' rule making...a GOP euphimism of "you go do whatever the hell you want and I got your back" to the people they liked. Hint hint, it's not all business, just their business and friends. The same total shock at the social systems will come out after Obama leaves office in 2016.

I see the bounty system with whistleblowing as a great move in the right direction: they've put REAL incentives into disclosing fraud. Up until now, why the hell would someone risk their entire future livlihood just to do the right thing? Some did, but most don't have that LUXURY, others rationalized, a few were more honest about raping the system. Bad employees can always be terminated, but now it makes sense to tell someone that your employer is ripping eyes out, because there's something in it for you on a real world level. The laws are only as good as the enforcement mechanisms, and you need a carrot to go along with that stick.

My personal take is this: when I was bartending, people often told me if I give them a free drink that they'll tip me better. Buybacks are part of the business but Rule #1 is that you don't come to the bar and beg for free shit, I'll just make fun of your broke ass. If the owners want to give you free stuff, that's their business. The underlying reality is that I'm not risking my livihood to score another $5 on a gratuity. You think no one is watching, ever? I watched plenty of much better bartenders get canned for robbing the place. I think that Diamond being stripped of his entire compensation is a good start, and I don't think it was voluntary, more like he 'agreed' not to argue. An example has to be made, and at the end of the day he's just an employee. Somewhere in the 80's, people in America got it in their head that (1) the people in charge should have total power and (2) that if they toady up to those people that they will be in on the gravy train. A few people did well...unbelieveably well...and of course there were plenty of legit new rich. But now we're seeing the fallout from that overall mindset.

This SUCKS for people that work in industry now, especially the new people, because we're paying for other people's mistakes. I personally work in a HEAVILY regulated group at a firm that didn't take a cent of bailout money, but still get crap from people about financial misdeeds, it's extremely frustrating. Everyone's a "free market fundamentalist" until they get fucked, then they all change their tune, so how about just end the 'debates' about ethics and just do the right thing from the get go. Personally, I hope the gov't throws the damn book at the people who made all of our lives that much more miserable.

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Jul 12, 2012

It's called patrimonialism: government and its business cronies are in bed together. Best part: it's never going to change

Jul 12, 2012
CanadianPositiveCarry:

It's called patrimonialism: government and its business cronies are in bed together. Best part: it's never going to change

...this is part of why I came to finance, it's a nexus point for this sort of thing. Fucked up, but I'm honest about it. Huge concentrations of wealth + power = opportunity

definition of opportunity subject to personal interpretation

Jul 12, 2012

since the government doesn't do its job, the people need to take it on themselves to administer some mob justice.

i foresee: jamie dimon in the stocks, face plastered with rotten vegetables and ass whipped raw with a rattan cane.

Jul 12, 2012

There's way more fraud on Main Street.

Jul 12, 2012
Connor:

There's way more fraud on Main Street.

If you assert it, it must be true!

I'm also not sure of fraud on "Main Street" that causes anywhere near the level of damage that this shit does.

Jul 12, 2012
TheKing:
Connor:

There's way more fraud on Main Street.

If you assert it, it must be true!

I'm also not sure of fraud on "Main Street" that causes anywhere near the level of damage that this shit does.

It's arguable that fraud doesn't cause "damage" until it explodes. Just look at all of history's examples.

Jul 12, 2012

Insider trading is really, really hard to prosecute. And the average joe doesn't really care; he just sees [finance guy] accused of [bad thing] on the news. The average voter knows a handful of financiers. Blankfein, Dimon, and maybe Pandit? Everyone else has 0 name recognition.

He probably doesn't participate directly in the markets. It's all abstract. So it doesn't make political sense to expend a lot of effort prosecuting them. Still, I think the incentive exists for financiers to act ethically. Who wants to be Raj/Gupta/Madoff/Sanford? Life in prison is no joke.

Jul 12, 2012

What the fuck is up with this "I hate finance, it's fraud and all the people suck" zeitgeist? This in itself is getting pretty damn tiring. Fraud has always and will always exist; and similarly to what others have mentioned I believe we do a pretty good job of taking care of the situation. The true shame is that as always the 0.1% of people who are actually fraudulent always screw it up for the other 99.9% of people who take this shit seriously. And nowadays people just can't wait to pounce on the news. People do bad things, they get caught, they get punished, life goes on. And while I'm at it, to the liberals who always love to complain about finance: how exactly do you think companies can afford to pay you pensions? Money doesn't come from thin air. The very private equity firms you love to hate are some of the very people responsible for making sure your pension fund gets that 8% growth and can actually afford to pay you. But, I'm getting off track here. I think the survey is shit. First, define "fraud." Second, there's a huge difference between saying you think fraud is ok and actually committing fraud. This is just fucking hilarious.

Jul 12, 2012
Nabooru:

People do bad things, they get caught, they get punished, life goes on.

Right...except that they don't. That's the whole issue here. Take off your "I want to work in banking" blinders for a second and be objective. No one writing on here is saying "finance sucks, be a hippie liberal," stop making false assertions and put forth an actual argument.

The problem we have is that the destructive shit that goes on is incredibly prevalent and nothing is done to fix things. And who pays? You do. We do. The people who work hard and are honest get screwed.

Think of it this way. Imagine you work at Barclays in a group that's kicking ass, closing a ton of deals. Imagine that your entire M&A group is bringing in a ton of revenue. You'd be psyched about your bonus, right? Well guess what, people in the most senior positions of your firm colluded with other banks and (likely) gov't officials to manipulate LIBOR (which is about as big of a deal as you can possibly imagine), people find out and your bank is in some serious shit. Guess what, that shit will probably fuck you over come bonus time. So, the actions of people at the top trickle down and fuck over people who aren't doing anything wrong. And, you can argue that Bob Diamond got punished and lost stock options, had to resign...but the guy is still a multi-multi-millionaire at the end of the day, so who gives a fuck.

Jul 12, 2012
TheKing:
Nabooru:

People do bad things, they get caught, they get punished, life goes on.

Right...except that they don't. That's the whole issue here. Take off your "I want to work in banking" blinders for a second and be objective. No one writing on here is saying "finance sucks, be a hippie liberal," stop making false assertions and put forth an actual argument.

The problem we have is that the destructive shit that goes on is incredibly prevalent and nothing is done to fix things. And who pays? You do. We do. The people who work hard and are honest get screwed.

Think of it this way. Imagine you work at Barclays in a group that's kicking ass, closing a ton of deals. Imagine that your entire M&A group is bringing in a ton of revenue. You'd be psyched about your bonus, right? Well guess what, people in the most senior positions of your firm colluded with other banks and (likely) gov't officials to manipulate LIBOR (which is about as big of a deal as you can possibly imagine), people find out and your bank is in some serious shit. Guess what, that shit will probably fuck you over come bonus time. So, the actions of people at the top trickle down and fuck over people who aren't doing anything wrong. And, you can argue that Bob Diamond got punished and lost stock options, had to resign...but the guy is still a multi-multi-millionaire at the end of the day, so who gives a fuck.

Well I actually didn't say that anyone said hippie shit here, hence the "off-topic" remark; I was merely using the opportunity to voice my displeasure at some things others I know have said off this website. Also, I'm not defending banking and really don't want to be a banker (although I may have to anyway for the career track, but off-topic again).

My argument is simple: have people's actual behavior in general really changed from previous periods in history, or is the spotlight not entirely on finance instead of some other industry?

I'm not pretending fraud doesn't exist; that's truly naive. I've realized, as you've alluded to in your previous post, that in general the world is a pretty fucked up place. Shitty people do shitty things. That's why I'd rather spend my time learning to recognize and expect it then use it to my advantage from an investing standpoint.

Jul 12, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

I'm really getting tired of writing about this stuff. I'm serious. It's really starting to wear on me. Fraud and criminal wrongdoing has become so prevalent on Wall Street over the past decade that no one even bats an eye at it anymore.

I know how you feel. I used to eat up reading about the crisis and what not, but it really takes a mental toll. Just depresses the shit out of me seeing how many scumbags are out there getting away with such insane shit and NO ONE has been punished. And on top of that, an entire political party wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and replace it with nothing, further deregulating an industry that absolutely needs smart regulations (as was proven literally three and a half years ago.)

I'm honestly amazed at a guy like Matt Taibbi who puts forth a yeoman's effort in his constant and consistent coverage of this stuff without beating around the bush. The dude must be on Xanax to deal with the constant wave of depressing shit he researches.

And honestly, I feel like once you're aware of how fucked up it all is, you feel like you're getting unplugged from the Matrix. So many people walking around blind with no idea how fucked up things are.

This is a little bit of what I was getting at in my blog post the other day about success and how so many people in this country seem to worship wealth. The right has literally beaten people over the head with the idea that "wealthy = smarter and better than you" for years now. And people buy into it! Assuming that if someone has a lot of money, it doesn't matter how they made it, they made it and are clearly leaders among men. It's such absurd horse shit.

Plus, all our leaders in gov't, with the exception of a select few (Paul, Sanders, a few others), are so beholden to big business and Wall Street money. It's like they think their jobs are to continuously get re-elected, not to actually govern for what's best for America. It's such a fucking disgrace.

I really do think that throwing a few of the top guys in pound-you-in-the-ass prison would go a long way towards fixing the problem. And you know what? I think the regulators would attract better people if they paid better. Instead, we have incompetent buffoons getting paid chump change that take the job for its lifestyle alone and don't take care of anything. And the ones who work at the big regulators that have brains only use it as a stepping stone towards working at a big bank / law firm / whatever. Fucking disgraceful.

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Jul 12, 2012

Best related content ever: "Anybody else get a ding from Lehman today?"

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Jul 12, 2012

I don't know how this hasn't been said yet but this has to be all George Bush's fault somehow.

Jul 12, 2012
BlackHat:

I don't know how this hasn't been said yet but this has to be all George Bush's fault somehow.

The increased pressure from the subprime mortgage market and financial crises has left managers looking for ways to keep investors from leaving.

I think we need more gun blazing, tobacco chewing, and stone cold fists who have the backbone to say "no" on the street. I'm not a George Bush fan, but I would closely look at those who are more responsible for financial regulation and oversee of the markets. Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, and some of the others are just wizards who are extremely smart and know / knew of what is / was going on without the will to expose their friends' actions.

I myself would look at the guys who bet against some of the derivatives "insanity" to see who is really playing the game right. I myself think that Kyle Bass and others like him might be one of the guys that are making money without committing fraud.

There is life and death. I'm going to bust my ass to make an impact 'til the latter comes.

Jul 12, 2012

it's too big to fail. it's not cheating as long as you don't get caught... smh

The Knicks are back?

Jul 12, 2012

Here's one to get the blood boiling, as reported by the NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/12/business/some-ph...

  • Florida doctors can dispense medication at extreme markups, thanks to middlemen exploiting a law that allows doctors to sell at "wholesale prices"
  • "Distribution companies" buy drugs from wholesalers and then artificially jack-up the cost of medication when they sell to doctors, allowing doctors to sell the medicine at the artificially high price
  • The distribution company then pays doctors 70% of the jacked up price, then collects the full amount from government and private health insurers, making 30% off the spread
  • A Florida company called Automated HealthCare Solutions is one of the distribution companies, partially PE backed
  • The government tried to close the loophole in the law, but was unsuccessful. Reason why?

"That same year, Florida lawmakers tried to clamp down on how much doctors could charge for drugs. Automated HealthCare responded with a major lobbying and spending campaign, focusing its efforts on state leaders like the president of the Florida senate, Mike Haridopolos.

When the bill was reintroduced this year, Mr. Haridopolos declined to allow a vote. The state's insurance commissioner had backed the move, saying it would annually save firms and taxpayers $62 million, a figure disputed by Automated HealthCare."

Jul 12, 2012

Freeloader -

I really don't know how guys like Mike Haridopolos sleep at night. What a scumbag.

Jul 12, 2012

Not sure how related this is, but I recently read an article (New York Magazine, I think) positing that financial success makes people less "human" in terms of how they operate on an ethical level. I think what we are seeing from top executives is a fundamental disconnect in how they view their actions and how the rest of the world perceives them; that is, they may see nothing wrong with a restricted-period short or fudged reporting of the rates. On the enforcement side, because it is underfunded, the SEC only brings cases it knows it can win, so only the very brazen and stupid get caught. On the other hand, I am not a champion of extreme government oversight, nor do I believe that the consitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment should be overridden to deal with this. One possible answer (and this is hugely overbroad) is to reform the regulatory regime so that it's possible to make money without resorting to fraud. Another solution is to legalize and regulate insider trading. Not trolling with that one. Several commentators have suggested it as a solution.

I do sympathize with Eddie's anger, though-- it does sometimes feel like the whole industry is rotten, and you have to be rotten to get ahead.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Jul 12, 2012

I think Eddie's right on point. Diamond quitting and forfeiting his bonus for the LIBOR scandal is not teeth. In Europe there are finance ministers who will go to jail if their country's budget becomes unbalanced. Now that's teeth.

Whether or not the CEO knew what was happening to LIBOR on his watch shouldn't be the main issue. It's the CEOs responsibility to control behavior during his watch and their should be significant penalties to the CEO and other key top management.

If you can't prove these people were involved, I think the government should at least force the company to take years of salary back in clawbacks.

If you can prove the top management was involved, I say try them for treason. This kind of behavior isn't good for Main Street and isn't good for the vast majority of Wall Street (LIBOR manipulation causes uncertainty in markets, mistrust of financial advisers, etc). You need public hangings to discourage it.

Jul 12, 2012

The LIBOR 'scandal' is a perfect example to use when assessing how the government punishes the 'bad guys.' Don't you kinda think if they were actually fixing the rate behind everybody's back - effectively causing billions and billions of dollars worth of losses and gains for the wrong people - that we'd be so chill about it? The fact (yes, the fact) that the regulatory bodies knew about this going on as far back as '07 shows that to a certain extent they were okay with it. In some instances during the crisis they actually encouraged it to keep the banks on an even keel. Don't think there's a separation between the financial sector and the government, and that one has power over the other. If anything, the financial sector has the power over the government. Controlling the money is a lot more important than making the rules. Never forget the golden rule kids. And Wall Street takes the blame for all this shit because they don't care. They get compensated to not care. So maybe it's the new cool thing to do, but don't think it's all Wall Street's fault all the time. And if it has nothing to do with you it probably shouldn't even bug you.

Jul 12, 2012
BlackHat:

The LIBOR 'scandal' is a perfect example to use when assessing how the government punishes the 'bad guys.' Don't you kinda think if they were actually fixing the rate behind everybody's back - effectively causing billions and billions of dollars worth of losses and gains for the wrong people - that we'd be so chill about it? The fact (yes, the fact) that the regulatory bodies knew about this going on as far back as '07 shows that to a certain extent they were okay with it. In some instances during the crisis they actually encouraged it to keep the banks on an even keel. Don't think there's a separation between the financial sector and the government, and that one has power over the other. If anything, the financial sector has the power over the government. Controlling the money is a lot more important than making the rules. Never forget the golden rule kids. And Wall Street takes the blame for all this shit because they don't care. They get compensated to not care. So maybe it's the new cool thing to do, but don't think it's all Wall Street's fault all the time. And if it has nothing to do with you it probably shouldn't even bug you.

You're exactly right, it's not just Wall Street's fault. And I think we should punish anybody who failed to play their role in preventing this from happening. Regulators should be fired and embarressed.

The only thing I shy away from a little bit is pinning shit on Congressman - even if they were lobbied to turn a blind eye to everything. I'm not sure it'd be good for the country to paint government officials as the 'bad guys'

Jul 12, 2012
JDimon:
BlackHat:

The LIBOR 'scandal' is a perfect example to use when assessing how the government punishes the 'bad guys.' Don't you kinda think if they were actually fixing the rate behind everybody's back - effectively causing billions and billions of dollars worth of losses and gains for the wrong people - that we'd be so chill about it? The fact (yes, the fact) that the regulatory bodies knew about this going on as far back as '07 shows that to a certain extent they were okay with it. In some instances during the crisis they actually encouraged it to keep the banks on an even keel. Don't think there's a separation between the financial sector and the government, and that one has power over the other. If anything, the financial sector has the power over the government. Controlling the money is a lot more important than making the rules. Never forget the golden rule kids. And Wall Street takes the blame for all this shit because they don't care. They get compensated to not care. So maybe it's the new cool thing to do, but don't think it's all Wall Street's fault all the time. And if it has nothing to do with you it probably shouldn't even bug you.

You're exactly right, it's not just Wall Street's fault. And I think we should punish anybody who failed to play their role in preventing this from happening. Regulators should be fired and embarressed.

The only thing I shy away from a little bit is pinning shit on Congressman - even if they were lobbied to turn a blind eye to everything. I'm not sure it'd be good for the country to paint government officials as the 'bad guys'

Oh and it does have something to do with me. As someone who interned in front office finance, it affects my reputation among my non-finance friends and family. I want to see a 'clean' financial sector that I can brag to my friends I was once part of

Jul 12, 2012
BlackHat:

Don't think there's a separation between the financial sector and the government ... the financial sector has the power over the government.

Finance and gov't influence each other, but the government has far more power. The banks that screwed up weren't the only cause of the recession, and I don't like people who just hate Wall Street. Thing is, we do better by throwing out the crooks but given the bad decision making at the top and the too-big-to-fail status, I'm not sure what happens now.

My only guess is that stabilizing the system was a bigger priority and that convictions will be coming after the next election. If they don't, hell, I'm not sure why I'm following the law at all. I could make a whole lot more by coloring outside the lines.

Jul 12, 2012
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