(July 9, 2002) – “The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) welcomes President Bush`s call for tougher penalties for financial fraud,” said Joseph Borg, president of NASAA and director of the Alabama Securities Commission. “The innovation that has made America the world`s economic leader is being threatened by allegations of lying, cheating and stealing in a growing number of boardrooms, executive suites and on Wall Street. It`s time to reaffirm the basic principle upon which our markets are built: trust. While tougher standards and more prosecutions are cold comfort to those wiped out by the collapse of Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom and others, real reform – now – could ensure that crooks who scam investors out of their life`s savings get the punishment they deserve.
“As President Bush stated, self-regulation is not enough. Investors, who are also taxpayers and voters, expect and deserve more. We need both more cops on the securities beat and tougher prosecutions. NASAA is encouraged that the president suggested steps to achieve both, including the creation of a “financial crimes SWAT team.” White-collar criminals should be treated like criminals who commit premeditated crimes – with long sentences and hard time.
“NASAA also commends President Bush for calling on executives and Wall Street to describe their actions in plain English. Investors shouldn`t have to scan tiny footnotes and tables in proxy statements to get an understanding of what executives are paid or to know what an analyst really thinks of a stock. An end to company loans to executives is also long overdue. In too many cases, executives have treated their companies as personal piggy banks.”