Well, yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reporter who called me about my old boss and former job called back. She wanted to go over what she had asked me previously. The article came out today. The reporter who called me was Jeannette Neumann.
As far as the article goes, what was said about me by name was factually accurate at least. I believe part of this whole thing stems from a SEC/OIG report from the 2009 era. I was a Compliance Officer of an NRSRO.
You see, when the recent financial crisis started, the SEC ramped it up. They were the regulators that were supposed to be looking out for the best interests of the citizens of the United States before the markets crashed, before Bernie Madoff, etc. (if you have been living under a rock and don’t know what I am talking about, check out the HBO movie Too Big to Fail, for example.) The second thing is my former boss in his analytical capacity downgraded the U.S. recently. And just for the record, where government is concerned I believe in a healthy amount of skepticism.
I have to admit I find it amusing that the Wall Street Journal found me of interest. I know I was just an avenue to get at or near my ex-boss, but I enjoyed chatting with Jeannette Neumann anyway. She’s kind of a big deal as far as reporting for the Wall Street Journal goes. Of course it was far more enjoyable speaking with her than the SEC folks who called me in a surprise gang conference call two weeks after I resigned. At the time I found it Big Brother is Watching You offensive – made me realize we really have no privacy anymore in this country. I also found it equal parts amusing when one regulator asked me if I remembered him. Like I had early onset Alzheimer’s instead of breast cancer. You know, I forgot to mention that to her, maybe I should have.
Whatever. This is all in my rear-view mirror. I hope. It’s like you can never leave this industry. Or have breast cancer and decide you want to do other things. There is also the question of our government today and how it behaves, but I will leave that to the conspiracy theorists.
People we live in a strange world. My life is changing for the better. Wouldn’t it be ironic in the end if a disease like breast cancer was in a sense a positive catalyst to change my life?
Updated April 16, 2012, 8:56 p.m. ET: Small Credit Rater Raised SEC Concern Egan-Jones Won Approval Despite Procedures, Staffing
By JEANNETTE NEUMANN and JEAN EAGLESHAM
U.S. regulators gave approval for Egan-Jones Ratings Co. to rate bonds and other securities despite having serious concerns about the firm’s internal procedures and staffing levels, according to people familiar with the situation.
Egan-Jones, which made headlines late last year when a controversial ratings downgrade of Jefferies Group Inc. JEF +0.24% sent that firm’s stock price reeling, won approval as a credit-rating firm from the Securities and Exchange Commission in December 2007.
However, in 2009, the agency’s internal watchdog criticized the decision to approve the firm’s application…..report didn’t name the firm in question, but people familiar with the matter said Haverford, Pa.-based Egan-Jones was the subject of the criticism.
An SEC spokesman declined to comment. At the time, according to information included in the inspector-general report, the agency told Mr. Kotz that problems identified by the agency’s staff “did not provide a legally viable basis for denying the application.”
Egan-Jones President Sean Egan referred questions about the inspector-general report to the company’s lawyer, Alan S. Futerfas. “Assuming that Egan-Jones is one of the firms identified in the inspector general’s report, obviously the SEC decided to grant [credit-rating firm] status, and it’s extraordinarily in the public interest,” Mr. Futerfas said. He declined to comment whether the unnamed firm was Egan-Jones. “There’s not a single rating by Egan-Jones that the SEC has ever said or even suggested was not of the highest quality or accuracy or integrity,” he said.
….Egan-Jones is one of nine companies approved by the SEC as credit-rating firms…..Egan-Jones’s rating actions have had heightened market impact in recent months…..
Ms. Blakely was succeeded in 2008 by Carla J. Zambelli, who worked as a senior account administrator at what was then Wachovia Securities LLC in Conshohocken, Pa., before joining Egan-Jones, according to the rating firm’s regulatory filings.
Ms. Zambelli said in an interview that she resigned from Egan-Jones in February to focus on her recovery from breast cancer. She said Mr. Egan was surprised she had decided to leave.
Ok, 15 minutes over….we can all now go back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Final giggle? The comments on the article. Here’s one: