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January 2, 2013

A 2013 Guide to Better Behavior in Business

“AS the new year draws near, I’ve been thinking about what might make it a happy one for investors, taxpayers, home buyers and consumers. Herewith, a short wish list:

MAKE IT STING First, when regulators like the Securites and Exchange Commission settle with individuals after investigations, why not require those people to pay a sizable portion of the fines and penalties out of their own pockets? Only then will these deals deter bad behavior.”


“WAKE UP THE REGULATORS And how about requiring some penalty for failure when regulators mess up on the job? We’ve all seen the disastrous results of financial regulators’ failure to identify problems and nab scofflaws in the years leading up to the credit crisis. And yet, none have been held accountable for these transgressions.”


“SOLVE THE RATINGS MESS Why not ensure that investors get all the information they need to conduct extensive due diligence before agreeing to buy complex securities? This may be the only way to blunt the credit ratings agencies’ power or, better, make them disappear.”


“MAKE LEADERS LEAD Finally, wouldn’t it be nice if executives acted like leaders and accepted responsibility for the actions of their companies and their employees?”

This dream came to mind while reading a deposition of Angelo R. Mozilo, the founder of Countrywide Fianancial. His testimony took place in June 2011 but was filed two weeks ago with the New York State court that is hearing a suit brought against Countrywide by M.B.I.A., the mortgage insurer.”


Read full New York Times article here

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