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Web Watch: Best of the Week Ending Feb. 26

Bruce Carton | February 26, 2010

binoculars230x184Throughout the week over at Securities Docket, I highlight the most interesting columns and blog posts from around the web on the subjects of SEC enforcement and securities litigation. Here is a digest of my picks for the week ending February 26:

Q&A with Cheryl Scarboro (Jesse Sunenblick, Main Justice)
Main Justice | February 25, 2010
Since arriving on the job last year, Securities and Exchange Commission head of enforcement Robert Khuzami has battened down the agency's enforcement hatches in a much-publicized effort to prevent another Bernie Madoff-like scandal. An important sideline to Khuzami's quest is the creation of five new investigative units, including a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit headed by longtime Associate Director Cheryl Scarboro.

The SEC's FCPA practice has never lagged, necessarily. But the investigative unit introduces a new concept to what formerly was a highly regionalized squad of FCPA enforcers: a centralized braintrust in Washington that, according to Scarboro, will create a leaner, meaner enforcement team modeled heavily after that at the DOJ. In a recent interview with Main Justice, Scarboro talked about centralization and other related topics.

Paying Public Pensions To Sue (Peter C. Beller, Forbes)
Forbes | February 25, 2010
What with the recession and public anger over Wall Street pay, last year wasn't much for corporate partying. Still, class action law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann found the money to host a few hundred existing and prospective clients at a three-day conference at New York City's Palace Hotel in October that was lavish even by bubble-era standards.

Who, you might wonder, were the lucky guests? Many were teachers, cops and firefighters on their first New York visits. Such officials have their hands on the purse strings of the nation's public pension funds. That, in turn, makes them vital to Bernstein Litowitz and the other securities class action firms, which have created a multibillion-dollar business lining up public funds as plaintiffs to sue publicly traded corporations whose stocks don't do well.

SEC Commissioner is a Blog Commenter (Doug Cornelius, Compliance Building)
Compliance Building | February 24, 2010
So you write a blog post about the fiduciary duty of financial service providers to their clients. Actually, the real story is about the lack of fiduciary duty that brokers have to their customers. Then an SEC Commissioner chimes in.

How well is the SEC protecting you? (Donna Rosato, Money Magazine)
Money Magazine | February 24, 2010
In January 2009, when Mary Schapiro took over the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency was the butt of jokes. Though the SEC's whole purpose is to police the securities industry, it had missed massive abuses such as Bernie Madoff's decades-long Ponzi scheme and Allen Stanford's alleged $8 billion scam. Many feared that an insider like Schapiro wouldn't be tough enough to make drastic reforms.

In Schapiro's office overlooking the U.S. Capitol, Money Magazine's Donna Rosato asked the nation's top securities cop to explain the changes she's making and what the SEC is doing to protect investors now.