Press Releases

Waters “Disappointed” with SEC’s Waiver of Sanctions on Oppenheimer

Waters joins Commissioners Stein, Aguilar in expressing concern

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Washington, DC, February 4, 2015 | comments

Following the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to waive sanctions against Oppenheimer & Co., today Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, expressed her disappointment that the SEC issued such a broad waiver of sanctions to a company with an extensive recidivist history.

Waters’ comments come as SEC Commissioners Aguilar and Stein today released a dissent to the SEC’s order.

She released the following statement.

“I am deeply disappointed by today’s news that the SEC will grant Oppenheimer & Co., a firm with an extensive recidivist history, a full waiver of sanctions after admitting to serious violations of our securities laws. Investors and the American public are greatly disserved when our regulators throw away valuable enforcement tools and adopt a policy of ‘too-big-to-bar.’

It was my hope that the previous temporary, conditional waiver provided by the SEC to Bank of America marked a turning point in the Commission’s waiver process. However, today’s decision makes clear that the sanctions that Congress has provided for bad actors are meaningless. That is why I will be working with my Democratic colleagues to craft a legislative solution that sends a strong message to the markets that wrongdoers like Oppenheimer will be sufficiently held accountable for their misdeeds.

I would like to thank Commissioners Aguilar and Stein for standing up for the American people and seeking to prevent this waiver from being granted.”

In June of 2014, Waters authored an amendment that would have prohibited the SEC from granting certain waivers to firms that have, within the past three years, been convicted of certain felonies or misdemeanors or been determined to have violated anti-fraud provisions of the securities laws. Specifically, the amendment would have barred the SEC from granting waivers for companies enjoying “Well-Known Seasoned Issuer” (WKSI) status, another special benefit that allows companies to bring securities to market without first receiving the scrutiny of SEC staff. Republicans defeated the measure.

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Tags: SEC



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