Did Mary Schaprio Lie in Her Testimony to Congress?

10 Mar

In her testimony to Congress today, SEC Chair Mary Schapiro appears to have painted an overly-rosy picture of her accomplishments and the changes she’s made at the SEC since taking the helm.  In fact, unless the SEC’s website is simply painfully out-of-date (which is a pretty damn easy fix), it appears she may actually have spoken a un/half-truth, when she said (emphasis mine):

In September 2009, we created and staffed a new division – the Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation (RiskFin) – to bore through the silos that for too long have compartmentalized and limited the impact of our institutional expertise. Because today’s financial markets and their participants are dynamic, fast-moving, and innovative, the regulators who oversee them must continue to improve their knowledge and skills in order to regulate effectively. RiskFin provides the Commission with sophisticated analysis that integrates economic, financial, and legal disciplines, and is re-focusing the agency’s attention on and response to new products, trading practices, and risks. RiskFin has attracted renowned experts in the financial, economic, and legal implications of the financial innovations being crafted on Wall Street.

A few weeks ago I pointed out that per the SEC’s website, there actually isn’t anyone running RiskFin’s Office of Data & Data Analysis. How can “RiskFin provide the Commission with sophisticated analysis” when there’s no one running (or possibly even in) the office responsible for such analysis?

I hope for everyone’s sake – including Ms. Schapiro’s – this is simply a matter of the SEC just doing a horrible job of updating their various web pages.  Even if that IS the explanation, why does such a problem still exist?  It is not hard to promptly communicate and update web pages, it just requires either a department responsible for doing such things or that each division be given responsibility and accountability for updating the pages themselves.  Not rocket science.

I suppose another explanation is that the work with which the Office of Data & Data Analysis is tasked is actually being handled by another group or groups, but even if that IS the case, it still leaves us to question why there’s no head of that office (or if there’s anyone else there) and why the SEC is so bad at updating its web pages.  I just hope the work is getting done by someone, even if it isn’t by a dedicated group…

I understand it’s Government, and things take A LONG time, like recruiting and hiring, but for crying out loud, this is ridiculous, even for Government work!

Since the SEC is apparently so lousy communicating the goings-on inside the organization, does anyone else have any idea?  Anyone? Bueller?



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