Commissioner slams SEC settlement
July 13, 2011 (washingtonpost.com) One of the SEC's five commissioners has taken the extraordinary step of publicly dissenting from an enforcement action on the grounds that it was too weak.
Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar said the Securities and Exchange Commission should have charged a former Morgan Stanley trader with fraud in view of what he called "the intentional nature of her conduct."
The dissent comes weeks after the SEC took flak for negotiating a $153.6 million fine from J.P. Morgan Chase in another enforcement case but taking no action against any of the firm's employees or executives.
Under a settlement announced Tuesday, the SEC alleged that former Morgan Stanley trader Jennifer Kim and a colleague who previously settled with the agency had executed at least 32 sham trades to mask the amount of risk they had been incurring and to get around an internal restriction.
Their trading contributed to millions of dollars of losses at the investment firm, the SEC said.
Without admitting or denying the SEC's findings, Kim agreed to pay a fine of $25,000.
Aguilar said the settlement was "inadequate" and "fails to address what is in my view the intentional nature of her conduct."
"The settlement should have included charging Kim with violations of the antifraud provisions," Aguilar wrote.