Compliance Bricks and Mortar for December 7

These are some of the compliance-related stories that recently caught my attention.

High-Speed Trades Hurt Investors, a Study Says by Nathaniel Popper and Christopher Leonard in the New York Times

A top government economist has concluded that the high-speed trading firms that have come to dominate the nation’s financial markets are taking significant profits from traditional investors.

The chief economist at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Andrei Kirilenko, reports in a coming study that high-frequency traders make an average profit of as much as $5.05 each time they go up against small traders buying and selling one of the most widely used financial contracts.

The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure… by Dan Ariely

Wondering whether you can ask someone to give you a PhD in exchange for a kickback? Curious whether you can get away with stuffing ballot boxes? Allow me to introduce you to the Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure. Every couple years the Department of Defense publishes the Encyclopedia (Word doc), which is likely the most sarcastic government document out there. Interestingly, golf and taxes seem to turn up a lot.

An introduction to behavioral ethics

A quarter of a century ago, as a young criminal defense lawyer, I began to be struck by how different the causes of many white collar crimes were from the then (and still) traditional view. The latter saw (sees) white collar crimes as based largely on rational calculations by profoundly bad individuals – what was then the Ivan Boesky model and now is best associated with Bernie Madoff. Although there are certainly offenses of this sort, many of the crimes of which I became aware seemed based more on environmental factors than on the indelibly bad characters of those involved. While the field did not exist at the time, this turned out to be my introduction to what was to become “behavioral ethics.”