BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics

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Naked, Short and Greedy

Wall Street's Failure to Deliver

Rigged financial markets and hopeless under-regulation on Wall Street are not new problems. In this book, Susanne Trimbath gives a sobering account of naked short selling, the failure to settle, and her efforts over decades, trying to get this fixed. Twenty-five years ago, Trimbath was working “backstage at Wall Street” when a group of corporate trust specialists told her about a problem in shareholder voting rights. When she went to senior management at Depository Trust Company (DTC), then and still the largest securities depository in the world, they brushed it off saying, “You can’t balance the world.” Ten years later, a lawyer from Texas would tell her that the same problem was about to blow up the financial markets: Wall Street brokers are using short sales and fails to deliver to grab the assets of American entrepreneurs. This is a cautionary tale. What started as a regulatory failure turned into a regulatory crisis. Shareholder democracy is in shambles. The institutions that were established to correct a problem of trade settlement failures have instead exacerbated the problem. Global financial markets may not survive what comes next.