Friday, April 17, 2009
PBS Nightly Business report had an exclusive interview with SEC Chair Mary Schapiro and one particular interchange caught my eye/ear. Schapiro was asked by Stephanie Dhue whether more people were calling in with tips about Ponzi schemes. Noting the backdrop of the Madoff scandal, SEC Chair Schapiro was asked what they were doing with this information. The response:
"We receive close to a million tips per year at the agency and we need to handle them better and more effectively then we have historically, and we are reviewing from A to Z our process so we can be more effective with them. But I tell you the number of Ponzi schemes that we are detecting early on and stopping, shutting down immediately has grown dramatically in the time that I've been here and I think to quote Warren Buffet, 'when the tide goes out we see who's been swimming naked' and that's what happened with Ponzi schemes. They can't maintain the scheme in more difficult economic times and as a result they are being exposed earlier on."
It will be interesting to see what the A to Z review produces and whether there will be a strong "effective program" of compliance implemented by the SEC.