Securities and Exchange Commission
SEC Officially Above The Law: Prosecutors Decline To Charge SEC Employee For Violating Internal RulesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/06/2013 14:03 -0500
Two weeks ago we wrote of SEC compliance examiner (yes, compliance examiner) Steven Glichrist who was arrested for being non-compliant with the SEC's ethics requirement to disclose his financial holdings. "New York-based SEC employee Steven Gilchrist was charged with three counts of making false statements regarding the nature of his personal financial holdings. As WSJ reports, the 48-year-old compliance examiner at the agency, allegedly certified that his stock holdings were in compliance with the agency's ethics rules, when in reality he had held shares of six companies that agency staffers are barred from holding. The SEC is "very disappointed that an employee allegedly made false statements to conceal prohibited holdings after being told by our ethics office to divest." Fast forward to today when we learn that not only was the SEC not disappointed when another SEC employee was found to have flouted virtually the same rules, but that, inexplicably, federal prosecutors decided not to prosecute.
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On September 26, mere hours after a foundering JCP swore up and down to CNBC it would not, repeat not, sell shares to raise much needed liquidity, the same company proceed to go ahead... and sell 84 million shares of stock via Goldman Sachs (which two days earlier suggesting JCP may be a bankruptcy candidate in a credit research report). Back then we summarizes JCP's actions as follows: "Guess what. They lied. Is this criminal? Surely the SEC will get involved immediately." Obviously, the last statement was delivered with an unlimited dose of sarcasm. Which is why we were absolutely floored to read in the company's just released 10-Q that the SEC did, in fact, do just that.
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A world, in which former permabears David Rosenberg, Jeremy Grantham and now Hugh Hendry have thrown in the towel and gone bull retard, and where none other than the Chief Investment Officer of General Re-New England Asset Management - a company wholly-owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, has issued one of the direst proclamations about the future to date and blasts the Fed's role in creating the biggest mess in financial history, is truly upside down...
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The correlation between stock prices and margin debt continues to rise (to new records of exuberant "Fed's got our backs" hope) as NYSE member margin balances surge to new record highs. Relative to the NYSE Composite, this is the most "leveraged' investors have been since the absolute peak in Feb 2000. What is more worrisome, or perhaps not, is the ongoing collapse in investor net worth - defined as total free credit in margin accounts less total margin debt - which has hit what appears to be all-time lows (i.e. there's less left than ever before) which as we noted previously raised a "red flag" with Deutsche Bank. Relative to the 'economy' margin debt has only been higher at the very peak in 2000 and 2007 and was never sustained at this level for more than 2 months. Sounds like a perfect time to BTFATH...
To the DOJ, a $13 billion receipt is the "largest ever settlement with a single entity." To #AskJPM, a $13 billion outlay is a 100%+ IRR. And perhaps more relevant, let's recall that JPM holds $550 billion in Fed excess reserves, on which it is paid 0.25% interest, or $1.4 billion annually. In other words, out of the Fed's pocket, through JPM, and back into the government. Luckily, this is not considered outright government financing.
While the relentless multiple expansion (if not so much earnings growth and certainly not revenue contraction) looks set to push all three main stock indices over the key psychological levels of 16000, 1800 and 4000, with the all time bubble high on the Nasdaq increasingly looking like the next big target, the stock market mania has nothing on Bitcoin, which only yesterday crossed $500 for the first time ever, and as of this morning is already 20% higher, having just crossed $600 minutes ago. Which means that anything prices in Bitcoin has entered bear market in just the past day. How high BTC goes, is nobody's guess (Raoul Pal had a truly stunning price target): once the buying frenzy kicks in, step aside, especially since China is increasingly looking like it may be jumping on board the latest mania.
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While we are sure many will proclamin 'this is just a witch-hunt' - and all the hangers-on will be defending Stevie's decision... the fact is that:
- *SAC AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY TO END U.S. INSIDER-TRADING CASE
- *SAC WILL PLEAD GUILTY TO EVERY COUNT IN INDICTMENT, U.S. SAYS
- *U.S. SAYS SAC AGREEMENT PROVIDES `NO IMMUNITY' FOR INDIVIDUALS
Seems pretty cut-and-dried to us... As part of the deal, Reuters notes that SAC will terminate its investment advisory business.
The rest of the world has had enough of the monopoly of the credit-rating agencies that are largely biased towards the US economy and it’s about time that it all came to an end.
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U.S. prosecutors and SAC Capital agree in principle on insider-trading penalty exceeding $1billion. http://t.co/hNaBnT26jX
— WSJ Breaking News (@WSJbreakingnews) October 17, 2013
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