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SEC Embarks On "Not As Dumb As We Look" Campaign

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The SEC has taken a lotta flack over the last year or so. Given. The report that a good number of officials spend hundreds of hours looking at tranny porn during business hours was embarrassing but it was really just noise. The bigger criticism to be (justifiably) made is that the Commission as a whole is dumb as rocks. Harry Markopolos has said so about a million times, Bernie Madoff has attributed the success of his Ponzi scheme to the insanely impressive level of incompetence demonstrated by the group, they went after the most honest investor of all time, David Einhorn, and if that doesn't do it for you, take a moment to consider that 9 employees out of 10 don't know that penises stay outside the pencil sharpener. Last fall they tried to step up their game by sending employees for training at ClownFace College but it didn't quite take. And, damn it, they just want to be taken serious! But how?

[Snaps fingers] I've got it! Hire some dude with fancy sounding degree and align agency with guy who simply must be a genius 'cause no one at the office even knows what a particle physicist does. That's gotta look good.

The next time the Securities and Exchange Commission stops a financial fraud, it might be partly because of work that physicist Gregg Berman did studying the tiny particles spun off by exploding stars and distant galaxies.

Today, the Princeton-trained nuclear physicist is investigating for the SEC what was behind the massive flash crash that sent the stock market into a tailspin last month. A specialist at culling conclusions from masses of chaotic information, Berman is in part trying to ascertain whether wrongdoing played a role.

Although lawyers fill most of the SEC's ranks, the agency has been hiring experts with specialized quantitative skills and those who have worked on Wall Street who are hip to its tricks.

In fairness, Berman will raise the collective IQ over there by about 100 points, so this is something.

SEC is hiring more experts to assess complex financial systems [WaPo]