Going Public made the Wealth Management’s Top 10 Business Books List

Here’s what WealthManagement.com had to say about my book, which was placed at #3:

#3. Going Public: My Adventures Inside the SEC and How to Prevent the Next Devastating Crisis
Norm Champ
McGraw-Hill

Compared to the toothless and hapless Securities and Exchange Commission described by Norm Champ’s Going Public, the Justice Department described in The Chickenshit Club comes off as a model guardian for the public interest. As a lawyer and hedge fund expert, Champ watched the 2008 financial crisis unfold with horror. In response, he quit his high-paying job and decided that the SEC could use his Wall Street experience to prevent other Bernie Madoffs and Allen Stanfords. Not so fast. Champ was quickly chewed up and spit out by a culture so toxic and inward-looking that it’s a surprise the SEC accomplishes anything of value. This is a very dispiriting account of an agency that investors count on to enforce a level playing field. He is also refreshing in his candor. Champ accurately describes the culture of the SEC as hopelessly undermined by a poisonous brew of civil service protections and public employee union contracts that make it virtually impossible to fire anyone. (It took five years to terminate an employee who simply failed to show up.) On his first week on the job, Champ received an anonymous letter warning him of the furies that will fall on his doorstop should he try to upgrade examiner standards. If the SEC spent as much time policing the markets as it does investigating anonymous accusations against other employees, corruption would be a thing of the past. By the end of Champ’s account, there is a glimpse of hope that the SEC is making baby steps to internal reform. This is a cautionary tale for any Wall Streeter who believes he can make a difference at the SEC.

Read more here: http://www.wealthmanagement.com/business-planning/10-best-business-books-2017-advisors 9781259861208_FC

WSJ Goes Big on Financial Regulation

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal launched a new product called WSJ Pro Financial Regulation devoted to covering all of the activity in this space. WSJ reporter Andrew Ackerman had one of the first pieces on the new service discussing how the SEC’s current complement of three Commissioners could lead to paralysis at the agency. Agency action requires a quorum of three so any one Commissioner can stop something by not showing up at a meeting. Apparently this has never happened before but you never know in the divided Washington of today. Read more

The Comptroller of the Currency is right to be concerned about auto loans but the problem is the Federal Reserve

Yesterday Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said that he is concerned that auto loans are showing signs of the frenzy seen in housing loans before the 2008 financial crisis.  He is right to be worried about auto loans but he misses the reason why.  The surge in auto sales and loans to finance them is not, as the Comptroller says, an issue that needs more regulatory attention.  It is instead an easily foreseeable outgrowth of the Federal Reserve’s failed policy of near zero interest rates. Read more