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April 22, 2021

Putting the Cops Back on the Wall Street Beat: New SEC Enforcement Director Needs to Punish and Deter Without Fear or Favor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Contact: Pamela Russell at 202-618-6433 or prussell@bettermarkets.com

Washington, D.C.  –  Dennis M. Kelleher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Markets, issued the following statement in response to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler’s announcement of Alex Young K. Oh as the new Director of Enforcement:

“The SEC has been AWOL for years in enforcing the law, particularly against the elite, wealthy and well-connected financial institutions on Wall Street and their staffs, supervisors and executives. That disgraceful practice has created a two-tier system of (in)justice in America: light-touch for elite Wall Street banks and bankers and get-tough for the rest of America. That’s why it is no surprise that Wall Street is populated with recidivists and that the ongoing crime spree is getting worse as detailed in a recent comprehensive study.

“By appointing his Director of Enforcement just days after being sworn in, SEC Chairman Gensler clearly intends to signal that he is serious about putting the SEC cops back to work on the Wall Street beat. However, the new Director, Alex Young K. Oh, will need to break with past practices and implement new policies that meaningfully punish and deter lawbreaking corporations, banks and individuals. The first and most important change has to be a requirement that every enforcement investigation, proceeding and action must fully and carefully evaluate the conduct of all individuals connected in any way to the suspected wrongdoing, including operational, audit, risk, legal and compliance personnel as well as all responsible supervisors, executives and Board members. Every action must then require full disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains, material fines based on profits, admissions of wrongdoing, full and complete statements of fact, independent monitors, and non-waiver of collateral consequences. Every action must also include personally fining, barring, and enjoining all involved or responsible individuals.

“These are the only types of actions that will punish and deter lawbreakers and slow if not stop the Wall Street crime spree. As important, this will end the two-tiered system of justice and restore the principle of equal justice under law. Only then will the SEC fulfill its mission and be taken seriously on Wall Street and in Corporate America. This is long overdue, and the American people deserve no less.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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