by Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade
Remember that LifeLock tv commercial where masked bank robbers storm into a bank, smashing things with a baseball bat and screaming, “on the floor.” As the customers hit the floor, a security guard is still standing looking calmly at the robbers with his hands at his side. A woman looks up from the floor at the guard and whispers to him: “Do something.” His reply: “Oh, I’m not a security guard, I’m a security monitor. I only notify people if there’s a robbery.” After a few seconds of observing the scene around him, he looks back down at the woman and says: “There’s a robbery.” The commercial ends with the voice over: “Why monitor a problem if you don’t fix it?”
This commercial perfectly reflects the attitude of the Securities and Exchange Commission under the past two SEC Chairs, Mary Jo White and Jay Clayton, both of whom hailed from giant law firms representing the largest trading firms on Wall Street. The SEC had a front row seat at the serial crimes being committed by these firms; it monitored them in real time; and it did nothing to stop the serial crimes from reoccurring.