Linda Chatman Thomsen, the director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said February 9 that she would leave the Commission and return to the private sector. In the release announcing her resignation, the Commission boasted that during her tenure it had “brought the second- and third-highest number of enforcement actions in agency history,” but many think that her legacy will be tarnished by the Commission’s failure to detect the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
Former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt said in an e-mail that he believes the current examination process is “structured in a way to doom the SEC to failure,” noting that “there are simply too many regulated entities for the SEC ever to do the kind of job we expect in the compliance area.”
It’s more than just the structure, argues Pitt, it’s also the people. In his Congressional testimony on the Madoff case, whistleblower Harry Markopolos warned incoming Chairman Mary Schapiro that she “will find that she has too many attorneys and too few professionals with any sort of financial background.”