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Harvey Pitt, Regulatory Expert

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On July 12, 2011 @ 8:00 pm In Bailout Nation,Really, really bad calls,Regulation | Comments Disabled

Here is a laugher: Dealbook [1] is reporting that former S.E.C. Chairman Harvey Pitt is now criticizing Dodd-Frank. The giant SEC FAIL of the past decade traces, in no small part, to the great work of Mr. Pitt.

As a reminder of Pitt’s sterling ethics and his service to the investing community, I give you this brief Bailout Nation [2]excerpt:

“Over the course of two terms, Bush appointed three SEC Chairmen, each ill-suited for the position. It was a veritable parade of poor choices for the role of regulating stock markets. His first appointment, Harvey Pitt, was a securities industry defense attorney and was wholly unsuited to the position. Instead of representing the interests of investors, Pitt was an industry lapdog. Pitt pledged a “kinder and gentler” SEC just when the opposite was needed in the midst of a huge run of corporate misfeasance.

In an era of corporate accounting scandals, Pitt had close ties to the accounting industry. And for inexplicable reasons, Pitt met with the heads of companies under active SEC investigation. As a Wall Street lawyer, Pitt had “recommended that clients destroy sensitive documents before they could be used against them – advice that seemed to find echoes in the SEC’s investigations into Enron and its shredder-happy auditor, Arthur Andersen. [3]” Pitt had to recuse himself from many of the SEC’s votes — they were frequently about the clients he had represented as a defense attorney. By July of 2002, Senator (and future GOP presidential candidate) John McCain was calling for Pitt’s resignation [4].

Pitt, not surprisingly, demoralized the agency. To investor advocacy groups, having Pitt as SEC chief was like putting Osama bin Laden in charge of Homeland Security [5]. . .”

Listening to Harvey Pitt discuss securities regulations is like taking trading advice from Nicholas Leeson [6] . . .


Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/07/lol-harvey-pitt-criticizes-dodd-frank/

URLs in this post:

[1] Dealbook: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/former-s-e-c-chairman-criticizes-dodd-frank/

[2] Bailout Nation : http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0470596325/thebigpictu09-20

[3] Enron and its shredder-happy auditor, Arthur Andersen.: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/harvey-pitt-accounts-angel-who-supped-with-the-devil-639450.html

[4] John McCain was calling for Pitt’s resignation: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B00E3D61031F93BA35754C0A9649C8B63

[5] Osama bin Laden in charge of Homeland Security: http://archive.salon.com/news/col/huff/2002/05/14/sec/print.html

[6] trading advice from Nicholas Leeson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barings_Bank

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