Imagine you are the financial services regulator for a really big, rich country. The biggest and richest, even. Now, you are really bad at catching fraud. I mean really, really bad. You can't even do it when a guy is stealing literally billions of dollars and you're looking right at it; you're no good at seeing it even when people tell you where to look. It's just not your strength, which wouldn't be a big deal, except that you are the financial services regulator for a really big, rich country.
How to rectify the situation? Hire a guy who's spent a good chunk of his career telling the bad guys how to break the law without you ever being the wiser!
We kid Norm Champ, the new head of inspections at the Securities and Exchange Commission's New York office. You know, the one that had Bernie Madoff running a $67 billion Ponzi scheme under its nose for 30 years without ever suspecting anything? We are sure that Norm is a good guy and has never done anything that would get him disbarred. Though wouldn't that make the whole sorry SEC story just that much more fun?
The guy who clued the SEC in on Madoff's malfeasance 10 years before Madoff turned himself in and saved the regulator the trouble of catching him made all sorts of recommendations after he became a Capitol Hill hero. Like moving SEC headquarters to Connecticut and hiring people who actually know something about the firms they are supposed to be watching. Well, check on the last one. That'll show that Markopolous guy.
But why would a guy who has been cashing a big fat paycheck from $5 billion hedge fund Chilton Investment Co. for 10 years agree to work a thankless job for a civil servant's salary? We cannot say. But be warned, mini-Madoffs: There is now a slightly better than 0% chance you won't get away with it.
Norm Champ Named Associate Regional Director for Examinations in SEC New York Regional Office [SEC]