January 18, 2013
Does The SEC's Obsession With Insider Trading Make It Regulate Badly?
Posted by David Zaring

Matt Levine over at Dealbreaker suspects that the answer is yes:

The paradigmatic SEC investigation – “find an insider trader through phone records” – is about drilling down, not broadening out. It starts from a suggestive general pattern – “boy SAC makes a lot of money” – and looks for the one specific fact to nail somebody. The financial regulators you’d really want would start from specific facts and look for the general pattern. They’d spend years looking for broad problems with systems, not phone records to prove a single instance of wrongdoing by a single person. These SEC lawyers – the ones held up as models of SEC enforcement, the ones responsible for the SEC’s one post-crisis success story – should have been finding Bin Laden, not overseeing a financial system.

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