Oh, The Insecurity
Today on Fool.com, I wrote about CEO perks, specifically companies that pay for chief executive officers' security expenses. I neglected to mention in the piece those rumors last winter that some of Goldman Sachs' top brass might be taking security, er, into their own hands by packing heat (although the thought had crossed my mind to make an aside about it). That would have been a bit timely, since today apparently they have a little more reason to feel, er, insecure, at least in terms of scrutiny.
I am still digesting the Goldman news. On the one hand, well, that's most certainly interesting to say the least. Is the SEC remembering the spirit of what it was originally created to do (protect investors)? In 2008 I remember noting the SEC had let us down. But, and that's a big but, it's late. Another case in point: there were whistleblowers pointing out the stink surrounding Bernie Madoff (if I recall correctly, for YEARS) and the SEC, for whatever reason, did not listen. I just saw a WSJ piece saying maybe this could help repair the agency's tarnished reputation (the article claims it's a recent tarnishing, but I think this has been a complaint about the SEC even before the financial crisis -- the sense that maybe it was protecting big corporate interests rather than investors), but then again, this is just looking in the rearview mirror, isn't it? I guess we'll see.
Like I said, I'm still digesting. On an overall psychological basis, though, I am thinking maybe releasing the concept that sometimes there may be consequences for actions is sorely needed in these days of moral hazard. (Of course, something else that may be sorely needed these days is something for short attention spans. The run-up in the financial/bank stocks has really floored me, when I don't think it should have taken that much imagination to think maybe the problems were never really solved, and that worse things might be revealed later. Oh well -- interesting day, indeed.)