After a while, it all just gets tiring -- enervating. Cut by cut. Inch by inch. Whatever alleged honesty and integrity was once believed to have existed on Wall Street is lessened. Frankly, long ago it got to the point where many investors concluded that the exchanges and markets were simply rigged casinos. Along with that ongoing erosion of investor confidence in the trading venues, we also had doubts about the honesty of the securities industry's research. Talkin' their book. Bought and sold puffery. For much of the last twenty or so years, the headlines were filled with allegations, charges, and convictions about insider trading and compromised research. Sadly, it seems that it's still not safe to go back into the muddied waters of Wall Street. READ
We are regularly bombarded with press releases heralding some purportedly profound and historic settlement or verdict. Inevitably, as we read through the breathless prose announcing the legal outcome, we are told that some company or individual will pay a significant disgorgement and/or a crippling fine; but the cynics among us (of which I am one) arch an eyebrow at the announced dollars because we know that such sums are not always paid in full, if at all. Consequently, what looks like a financial burden upon a purported crook may well be nothing more than an non-collectable debt or, at worse, an obligation that is laughed at by the defendant/respondent. Consider a recent SEC settlement and the proposed Initial Decision.