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April 8, 2013

Where Bank Regulators Go to Get Rich

“Mary Schapiro, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, must take us for fools.

No need to worry about her and the so-called revolving door between government and Wall Street, she told the Wall Street Journal on April 2, after announcing she would be joining the Promontory Financial Group LLC as a managing director in its Washington office, in charge of its governance and markets practice. “In my case, there’s no revolving door,” she said. “I won’t ever be going back to government.”

Oh well, then, I guess that makes it OK that four months after leaving the SEC, Schapiro is joining a firm stuffed to the gills with former government financial-services regulators peddling their knowledge of Washington’s regulatory thicket to the banks and financial-services companies they once oversaw. (Schapiro, remember, also had a swell incoming trip through the revolving door: She previously ran the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-appointed watchdog, which paid her a bonus of almost $9 million after she left to go to the SEC in 2009.)

Promontory, founded in 2001 by Eugene Ludwig, a former comptroller of the currency, has become a sort of mini-version of Fannie Mae in its heyday. Back then, the mortgage giant was the ultimate revolving door between Washington and the private sector, paying retired politicians huge salaries to lobby their former colleagues. We all know how that turned out.”


Read William Cohan’s full Bloomberg View piece here

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