May 12, 2017

Federal Agency Workplace Survey: SEC Up to #6!

Congrats to the SEC! Since 2013, it’s moved up from 4th worst mid-size agency to work at – up to 6th best! Here’s testimony about the jump from the SEC’s head of HR – and here’s the full set of the 2016 workplace survey results.

As noted in this press release, Lucas Moskowitz was named the SEC’s Chief of Staff yesterday. From the cover page of this Form F-1, it looks like new Corp Fin Director Bill Hinman worked with new SEC Chair Jay Clayton on Alibaba’s IPO. Yesterday was Bill’s first day on the job…

Former Corp Fin Accountant Busted for Ethics Violations

This SEC Enforcement announcement really caught my eye. I don’t recall a SEC Staffer ever being criminally charged over trades executed while they were working at the SEC. An accountant who worked in Corp Fin for 16 years – starting in ’98 – failed to accurately report trades he engaged in. And then lied about it when questioned. He also engaged in prohibited options trading. After rising to the level of branch chief, the dude was ultimately let go for other reasons – then this crazy situation was revealed. He disgorged $50k in profits – and paid another $50k in penalties. He also pled guilty to criminal charges brought by the DOJ.

As explained on the SEC’s complaint (pg. 3), the SEC has a host of ethics rules that require Staffers to pre-clear and report their trades – as well as hold any securities purchased for at least 6 months. In addition, certain types of trades are prohibited (eg. options & derivatives). When I was on the Staff, this was never an issue for me as I didn’t earn enough to be playing in the stock market…

Farewell to Rich Ferlauto: A Governance Pioneer

A sad farewell to Rich Ferlauto, a pioneer for shareholder rights – and someone who worked hard to better conditions for all investors. And all humans. I first met Rich when he launched the Office of Investments at the AFL-CIO. He then helped AFSCME become active in the area of corporate governance. Then he went to the SEC, where he served as Deputy Director of the Office of Investor Education.

Even when he became sick, Rich was very active, trying to save the planet despite his condition. He co-founded the 50/50 Climate Project. I met with Rich several times over the past year or so to discuss his latest endeavors. Always an optimist. Always looking to help others. He was a force – and will be missed.

Broc Romanek