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November 15, 2012

Changing the Conventional Wisdom on Wall Street


 “There are two fundamentally different views regarding modern Wall Street. The first is that the financial sector has been terribly and unjustly put upon in recent years – regulated into the ground and treated with repeated disrespect, including by the White House….  The second view is that the powerful people who run global megabanks have lost all sense of perspective, including failing to realize that they have more access to people at the top of our political power structures than any other sector ever had.”


“Which of these views is correct?  We will soon know, because there is a simple and direct test that is fast approaching: Whom will President Obama nominate as the new chair of the S.E.C.?”


“To make Wall Street safer — and more helpful to the rest of the economy — implementing new rules is not enough.  We need completely new thinking about securities markets, including all dimensions of how investors are treated and where financial-system risks lurk. We must be able to trust the financial system again, and we are a long way from this point.  There are three potential S.E.C. Chairman who could have this kind of impact.”


“Third, Dennis Kelleher is a former senior Senate leadership aide with a great deal of political experience, including during the financial crisis and in the negotiations that led to Dodd-Frank, and now runs the pro-reform group Better Markets. Previously, he was a partner at the international law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he specialized in the S.E.C., securities, financial markets and corporate conduct in the United States and Europe. No one has been a more effective advocate of implementing substantive reforms.”

“Mr. Kelleher and his team are in the trenches every day, arguing on behalf of taxpayers and ordinary citizens at every opportunity before the entire range of regulators, in court cases and with Congress and the administration. They are also amazingly effective – particularly considering the huge resources of the firms that they go up against (for some examples, see this New York Times profile of Mr. Kelleher). His private and public sector experience and expertise are very highly regarded throughout the financial regulatory agencies and in the legislative and executive branches more broadly. He also has strong relationships on both sides of the aisle and would be likely to be confirmed.”

Read the full column in the New York Times here  

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