뉴욕타임즈 사설: 아, 그 사람 버니 메이도프 말인가?
Editorial: YOU MEAN THAT BERNIE MADOFF?
Warren Buffett once noted that “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” The collapse of what prosecutors say was the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, orchestrated by the New York money manager Bernard Madoff, has left a large number of powerful and smart people shivering on that beach. 워런 버펫이 예전에 이러한 지적을 한 적이 있다. “바닷물이 빠져나가 버렸을 때 비로소 누가 벌거벗고 수영하고 있었는지는 알 수 있다.” 뉴욕의 머니 매니저 버나드 메이도프가 운영한, “역사상 최대 규모의 폰지(Ponzi) 게임” (검찰관들의 표현)이 깨어짐으로써 수많은 힘세고 영리한 사람들이 지금 그러한 해변 모래사장에서 떨고 서있는 모습이 보이고 있다. Mr. Madoff’s suspected multibillion-dollar fraud, discovered as falling markets exposed the fiction of its 10 percent annual profits, provided a stark reminder of how greed impairs judgment, duping some of the world’s supposedly savviest investors for decades. It raises once more a fundamental question of these times: Where were the regulators when all of this was happening? 메이도프 씨에 대한 수십억 달러 단위의 사기 혐의는 증시 폭락으로 연간 10% 증식이 허구임을 노출시키게 되면서 발각 난 것으로, 이 사건은 지나친 욕심이 판단을 그르친다는 것을 새삼 따끔하게 상기시켜 주고 있다. 세계에서 소위 가장 빈틈없는 투자자들로 자처하던 사람들이 몇 십 년 동안 깜짝 같이 속았던 것이다. 이 사건은 요즘 근본적인 질문이 되어 있는 것을 다시 한 번 제기하고 있다. 즉, 이런 일이 벌어지고 있는 동안 감독관들은 무얼 하고 있었단 말인가? Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, acknowledged this week that the agency had received “credible and specific” allegations about the scheme at least a decade ago. He promised an internal inquiry to figure out why the agency did not thoroughly investigate. Two years ago, the commission’s enforcement arm in New York opened an investigation into whether Mr. Madoff’s business was a Ponzi scheme but closed it after finding only mild violations that “were not so serious as to warrant an enforcement action.” The S.E.C.’s failings go much further than missing this one outrageous scheme. The agency urgently needs new leadership, more resources and high-level political backing to recover its role as Wall Street’s top cop. Though many details remain unknown, Mr. Madoff’s activities should have set off plenty of alarms. His firm posted improbably constant returns, regardless of market volatility. It claimed to employ strategies that at such a large scale should have produced highly visible movements in options markets, yet passed undetected. Its auditor was a tiny, unknown outfit. While it is particularly embarrassing to have overlooked what appears to be a low-tech fraud invented 100 years ago, the S.E.C.’s failure to pursue the case aggressively exemplifies its lackadaisical approach to enforcing the law on Wall Street. That has gotten much worse during the Bush administration. Like other agencies, the S.E.C. has suffered from this administration’s fierce aversion to government regulation. Under Mr. Cox, the enforcement division has been hampered by budget cuts and rule changes that have made it more difficult to impose penalties on companies found guilty of wrongdoing. In a series of recent reports, the office of the S.E.C.’s inspector general, H. David Kotz, detailed the commission’s repeated failure to pursue investigations. It criticized the agency for not exercising any oversight over Bear Stearns in the months preceding its collapse, among other criticisms. The S.E.C.’s inability, or unwillingness, to catch Mr. Madoff is extremely troubling. Mary Schapiro, the head of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority and President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to be chairwoman of the commission, has a reputation for diligence. The S.E.C. will need that, as well as financing and strong political backing. All of us, not just Mr. Madoff’s clients, are paying the price for the regulators’ failure to do their job. (December 19, 2008) (ⓒ 2008 The New York Times) (ⓒ 2008 www.usabriefing.net)
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