May 5, 2011
Interpreting the law requires not only determining the intent but also the context and underlying basis for which the law was enacted. The Volker rule was enacted because bankers proved they could not be trusted a second time (Glass-Stegal was the first time) to manage depositors' money. Bankers across the nation engaged in overly risky, extremely greedy behavior just a few years after the repeal of Glass-Stegal. The general intent of the rule is to prevent banks from engaging in risky activity. To this end I recommend that the SEC require that banks submit a prospectus as a public document to the SEC BEFORE engaging in such leveraged or hedged activity deemed appropriate by the Volker rule so that shareholders and the general public can know in advance the purpose and scope. The document should show how the hedging or leverage is essential to bank operations. The banking collapse of 2008 caused by the bond rating agencies, AIG, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, all the way down to small banks, could have been averted by simple transparency. Furthermore, our commercial banks would be much more competitive today in the global market place had they acted more conservatively, as the Canadian banks did which presently are purchasing U.S. banks. Short term trading and ludicrously greedy leveraged hedge businesses are not required for US banks to maintain a global competitive edge. The bottom line is that corporate management in general routinely shirks fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders by granting themselves excessive option rewards, perks and engaging in short term earnings slight of hand. The banking industry is the worst example of this type of behavior. Shareholders deserve accountability and transparency and it is the SEC's responsibility to MAKE THIS HAPPEN especially when granted the power and the mandate to do so by the US government through such laws as the Volker rule. Thanks.