SEC Says it is Bringing Charges Against Wall Street

You’ve probably heard the charges made by politicians and activists that the Securities and Exchange Commission is ineffective and not bringing charges against those who caused the 2008 financial crisis.

“YOU’RE WRONG!” says the SEC.

The SEC has begun publishing “Enforcement Actions Addressing Misconduct That Led to or Arose From the Financial Crisis.”

Key Statistics (through Oct. 19, 2011)

Number of Entities and Individuals Charged 81
Number of CEOs, CFOs, and Other Senior Corporate Officers Charged 39
Number of Individuals Who Have Received Officer and Director bars, Industry Bars, or Commission Suspensions 24
Penalties Ordered > $1.2 billion
Disgorgement and Prejudgment Interest Ordered > $393 million
Additional Monetary Relief Obtained for Harmed Investors $355 million*
Total Penalties, Disgorgement, and Other Monetary Relief $1.97 billion

* In settlements with Evergreen, J.P. Morgan, State Street, and TD Ameritrade

In the prism of the enormous losses of  the 2008 financial crisis this may not seem by much. I think most people, though rightly upset, will have a hard time finding criminal conduct among those activities subject to the jurisdiction of the SEC. Sure, the proliferation of CDOs in 2007 can be seen as suspect. But criminal?