Strong Consumer Watchdog or Rogue Federal Agency?


“Rogue Federal Agency” or “Watchdog Too Good At Its Job”?

Above are two headlines from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times that give two sides of a growing debate about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (please see the links at the bottom of the this post and click through).

Having spent most of my professional career inside large Wall Street firms, I have seen many things that make me feel that consumers need more transparency into, and protection against, big carrot-and-stick incentive systems that are so powerful they drive even good people to do very questionable, if not improper, things.

Maybe I’ll write a book about my experiences someday, but in the meantime, consider reading or re-reading Liar’s Poker and The Big Short.  They are about some of Michael Lewis’s personal experiences and are spot on accounts of the games that are all too often played by Wall Street with other people’s money.

While you can probably intuit my opinion, please read the following pieces and make your own decision:

How We’ll Stop a Rogue Federal Agency
Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican and Chairman of the House Financial Service Committee

A Watchdog Too Good At Its Job
New York Times, Fair Game Column by Gretchen Morgenson

When you finish reading both, call or write me to let me know your thoughts.  I’m always happy to debate all sides, but my bet is that I can share stories that will make you think more bright lights need to be shining into some too-often dark Wall Street practices.

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