What drove the mortgage bubble in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis wasn’t just ill-prepared home-buyers signing on to subprime, adjusted-rate mortgages they couldn’t afford, or the lenders who effectively gave up on underwriting these loans so as to bundle and resell as many of them as possible. There were also credit rating agencies that gave these mortgage-backed bonds the seal of approval, even when they were worthless. [More]
John Stumpf, who “retired” last week from his position as CEO of Wells Fargo due to the company’s fake account scandal, is also taking the opportunity to “retire” from board seats. Oil company Chevron and retailer Target announced today in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Stumpf would be stepping down from their respective boards, both of which he joined in 2010. [More]
When a business is doing something shady and illegal, often the best-placed people to know about it are the employees who are supposed to carry it out. That’s why there are laws in place to protect whistle-blowers who report their employers to the appropriate authorities… and breaking those laws can sometimes land a company in as much trouble as doing the thing an employee would report them for to begin with.
Remain calm, investors, shoppers, and employees of Best Buy. Okay, yes, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly sold half of the shares in the company that he owns that are vested and that he’s legally allowed to sell, but that’s just about his personal investment choices, not meant as a statement about the future of the company. Hey, why is the stock price falling? [More]
When you pay a bank’s investment adviser to help you put your money in a smart place, you would hope that they would steer you to a product that best serves your interest. You’d also hope that if an investment product benefited the bank, this information would be clearly disclosed. But that’s not always the case, which is why JPMorgan Chase has to pay penalties totaling $367 million. [More]
Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission finalized a long-delayed rule that will require many businesses to publicly disclose the ratio of their top executive’s pay to the earnings of the typical employee. If the data in a newly released report is accurate, then the CEOs of Chipotle, CVS, Walmart, and Discovery Communications are each making more than 1,000 times the average salary of the people they employ. [More]
Five years ago, the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation directed the Securities and Exchange Commission to come up with rules requiring American companies to calculate and report the ratio between a CEO’s pay and that of the company’s typical employee. After repeated delays and claims from big business that the math was too complicated, the SEC has finally voted to approve these rules. [More]
When a company says it’s moving a whole lot of products, that could mean that its sales are booming. The thing is, just because a business might be shipping a lot of products, that doesn’t necessarily mean it actually sold as much as it’s sending to distributors. To that end, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating beverage giant Diageo — the company behind brands like Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie Walker and more — for allegedly artificially boosting its sales by shipping excess inventory to distributors.
If someone convinces you to invest with him by promising returns of 7% weekly, and that he’s never lost money and there’s no risk, you should be incredibly concerned about giving him your money, regardless of whether it’s a dollar or a Bitcoin. But the operator of a Bitcoin-based Ponzi scheme in Texas was able to rake in millions based on completely empty promises — and now has to pay it all back. [More]
Washington, D.C., might as well be called Acronym City. It feels like there are a zillion different, discrete agencies, organizations, bureaus, boards, and commissions within the federal government, each with its own graceless three-, four-, or five-initial moniker, forming the tangled web of a bureaucracy that regulates… well, almost everything. So what are the key regulatory agencies, anyway? Who oversees what, and who do they report to, and how does it all work? [More]
While it’s still settling multibillion-dollar tabs tied to the mortgage meltdown, Bank of America continues to face new legal and regulatory pressure. Yesterday, the bank revealed that it is being investigated by federal authorities to see whether it has complied with a program aimed to ease the mortgage-lending process. [More]
What Can A Regulator With A Sense Of Ethics Do After Leaving The Feds? Try Not To Become A Lobbyist.
After many years building your career, you’ve reached such a level of good reputation and success that you’ve been tapped to lead a major federal regulatory agency for a few years. Wow! That’s real power. Great job! But your term ends, or the administration changes, and your time in charge of the agency is done. You feel strongly that you’ve got another decade or two in you before retirement, though. So what’s your next move?
Businesses are in the habit of making amends for their errors without actually admitting they made any errors. Weasel words hide a multitude of sins; “mistakes were made” and “customers were affected.” A company can agree to pay millions of dollars to rectify a mistake or action they do not legally agree to having made. It’s a legal tangle that would be funny if it weren’t tied to so much real-world wrong: “Here’s a billion dollars to fix a crime that we don’t acknowledge we committed.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission wants big corporations and get out their calculators to do a little math: A new proposal unveiled today says U.S. companies will have to disclose how exactly chief executive officers’ paychecks compare to those of their regular workers. That’s something the fatcats had complained would be too difficult to do, but it appears the SEC ain’t buying it. [More]
How many acronyms can you fit in one sentence? Please see the above headline, which pertains to a settlement reached by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that will see the NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations — the more you know!) paying out $10 million for bungling Facebook’s IPO, or Initial Public Offering last year. Whew, try saying that sentence three times fast. Or even once. [More]