Friday’s Headlines: SEC not getting tougher, despite its claims

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission isn’t getting as tough as it claims, Bloomberg News reports. While SEC officials are boasting that a reorganization at the agency helped boost the number of enforcement actions in 2011, data show that many of those actions were actually follow-ups on old cases.

SEC enforcement director Robert Khuzami recently said the agency filed 735 actions in fiscal 2011, but when Bloomberg checked his math it found that more than 230, or 31 percent, of these cases were old. "They were so-called follow-on administrative proceedings that institute penalties in cases that already had been brought,” it says.

In fact, not counting these actions, the SEC filed fewer cases in 2011 than in 2010, before the reorganization.

“The SEC has been under pressure for more than three years to show results,” Bloomberg writes, pointing out that the agency has “struggled” to receive the funding it says it needs from Congress. “Lawmakers and investors have faulted the agency for missing Bernard Madoff’s multi-billion dollar fraud and for doing too little to hold Wall Street accountable for the financial market turmoil of 2008.”

Other News:

J.P. Morgan’s commodities business, under Masters, beats competitors Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley. [Reuters]

Libor trader practices seen as collusive by international regulators. [Bloomberg]

Warren Buffett says he’s chosen Hathaway successor, won’t say who. [Financial Times]

Barclay reluctantly agrees to take cheap loan from ECB, following HSBC and Lloyds. [DealBook]

PIMCO’s new ETF fund not that popular, despite Bill Gross’s expectations. [Businessweek]

JC Flowers sees private equity bargains in European financial services. [New York Times]

Lloyds finance director Culmer may earn up to six million British pounds. [Financial Times]

Deutsche Bank allows San Francisco banker to use Twitter to reach technology clients. [Bloomberg]

Janus shareholder vote forced CEO to take a 40 percent pay cut last year. [Reuters]

UK’s FSA broadens insider trading investigation to include WH Ireland, others. [Financial Times]

Goldman Sachs to buy Ariel Reinsurance for less than $500 million. [Wall Street Journal]

HSBC says it’s seeking new hedge fund partnerships. [Reuters]

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