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April 9, 2014

The Best SEC Speech Ever

“Before today, I had never heard of Jim Kidney. And I certainly hope this isn’t the last time I do.”

“Kidney, a longtime trial attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission, delivered a barnburner of a going-away speech at his retirement party last month, which has only just begun to make the rounds publicly. Thanks to the union that represents the agency’s employees, everyone can now read the whole thing. After a career in the SEC’s enforcement division that began in 1986, Kidney, 66, was gracious, polite and full of good humor. And for the most part he didn’t name names. But sometimes it wasn’t hard to figure out whom he was talking about.”

“For example, note his reference to “broken windows” in this passage:”

“Combined with the negative views of the civil service promoted by politicians and the beatings we take from the public, it is no surprise that we lose our best and brightest as they see no place to go in the agency and eventually decide they are just going to get their own ticket to a law firm or corporate job punched. They see an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors. On the rare occasions when enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement –- risky enforcement –- is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.”

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Read full Bloomberg View article here.

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