An Open Letter To The SEC, From The CompliancEX Editorial Team

Dear Mary Schapiro et. al.:

We here at CompliancEX are writing because we feel that we can stay silent no longer on a topic of grave importance to you and to us.

As you may know, we take great pleasure in poking fun at all of your ridiculous exploits. Yes, we don’t deny that we enjoy making fun of you. But we feel that it’s gone too far. You are giving us way too much material.

You guys really need to get your act together because as things stand now, no one is taking you seriously. And do you expect them to?

How does one take seriously an enforcement agency whose employees pass time at work looking at porn, rather than catching billion dollar Ponzi schemes before it is too late? An agency whose employees fail to encrypt highly sensitive data taken from stock exchanges–especially when it is the very department designed to enforce business’s cybersecurity precautions that does so? Who then merrily tote along the unsecured devices to a Black Hat hacking conference?

How does one respect regulators who use agency-provided laptops and iPads to download music and surf the web at home, even sending confidential work-related e-mails over unsecured home networks? An agency that is forced to shell out a nearly a quarter of a million dollars to a third party provider to ensure that no data was actually compromised, even after it found space in the budget for $1 million worth of shiny new Apple products, for no specific reason? Are we supposed to just expect ridiculous overexpenditures from you following last year’s rent fiasco, in which you rented far more space than you needed and then failed to pay your landlord what you owed him?

And the latest scene in your Comedy of Errors involves a gun-toting inspector who was fired and now he’s suing you for $20 million and reinstatement. Previously, during his time at the SEC, he raised concerns about “sexual misconduct” distracting an Inspector General from more important things, like investigating criminals. Umm, have you been approached by any reality TV networks yet? You’ve got a better dramatic arc going than most of the seasons of the Jersey Shore. And hey, if you said yes, it would help write the check for those back rent payments and the whole technology double-check.

But really, guys? Really? Can you get it together here? Your exploits are not inspiring much confidence in the American people.

And the thing is, we want them to have confidence in you. Because the more white collar criminals you bag, the more Ponzi schemers you unearth, the more insider traders you wiretap, the more fascinating stories we get to relay to our readers.

Yes, we make fun of you when the opportunity presents itself, but we actually want you to be a powerful, efficient, highly effective regulatory agency that eats up fat cat fraudsters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a midnight snack. The more rules you enact, the more cases you file, the more audits you conduct, the more jobs that are created for Compliance professionals. We want our recruiting business to grow and we want more Compliance professionals to get new jobs, get better jobs, and move up in authority within their organizations. So yes, we admit it: we are biased, in the SEC’s favor. Mary Schapiro–we are actually your biggest fan.

So here we are, asking you, no, begging you: Please, please stop looking at porn at work. That is what your home computer is for. Everyone knows this, except you, apparently. Leave your work iPads and MacBooks at work, especially if they contain confidential data. And can you just leave your guns at home? Do you really need to bring your gun to work? Is it that important to you?

Because you’ve got a lot going for you. Let’s take a moment to look at the bright side. For one thing, you have that whole whistleblower thing where you basically just hand out free money. Who doesn’t love that? And as far as we know, Mary Schapiro hasn’t conducted a top-secret affair with her sexy biographer, potentially compromising national security. Evidently, no one at the SEC has sent 20,000 pages of e-mails to an “unpaid social liaison,” (we’re not saying the SEC doesn’t wish they had an “unpaid social liaison” to throw them pirate-themed parties) or distributed a shirtless photo of him or herself as part of a cutesy inside joke. The SEC didn’t spill four million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico or manufacture a fleet of cars whose brakes suddenly failed. They didn’t keep Long Island in the dark for weeks on end.

No one at the SEC has alienated half of the country with awkward remarks about the 47% and Obama’s gifts to minorities.

So guys, we know you can do it. You know what, next week is Thanksgiving. We are all going to gather together with our families, and you know what that means, right? We’ll be stuck at the table with the token family nutcase, who’ll mutter to himself or go on and on about his eccentric collection of squirrel pelts or political conspiracy theories. He’ll keep his glass filled all night (only from the flask he carries in his pocket) and eventually pass out on the sofa. And we’ll put up with him and then the next day, drive away from him and happily put distance between us.

That is a good model for you to follow as you distance yourself from the crazy people inside your organization and the ridiculous follies they have caused.

Just drive away quickly, clean up your act, and put all the craziness far, far, behind you.

Want a daily digest of articles like this one, plus the latest compliance jobs at top-tier organizations? Join 65,000 other compliance, risk governance, and regulatory professionals and subscribe to our free afternoon newsletter. Where do you find news, style, and career all in one place? The Executive Gateway, our new lifestyle magazine.

  1. November 16, 2012
  2. November 17, 2012

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: