Readers may recall that we took notice of the fact that after taking a uncharacteristically forceful stand against private equity abuses last May, the SEC’s Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Andrew Bowden began taking a far more conciliatory stand towards the industry starting in August. We exposed his remarks at a private equity conference at Stanford Law School in which he repeatedly praised the industry as “the greatest,” depicted abuses including widespread embezzlement as “some misconduct,” and lightheartedly told the audience he’d urged his son to work in the private equity industry. Almost immediately, Bill Black called for Bowden’s resignation. That story was picked up by the International Business Times, Truthout, Bill Moyers, Bloomberg, the Los Angeles Times, and Matt Taibbi. Credo had also been planning to launch a campaign this week, “Tell SEC Chairwoman: Punish lawbreaking, or fire industry-friendly regulator.”
From the SEC this morning:
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Andrew Bowden, Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), will leave the agency at the end of April to return to the private sector.
Mr. Bowden joined the SEC in November 2011, serving as OCIE’s National Associate for the Investment Adviser/Investment Company examination program. He was named Deputy Director of OCIE in September 2012 and became the Director of OCIE in June 2013.
“Drew has served as a thoughtful, creative, and dedicated advocate for investors, OCIE, and the Commission,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “Under his leadership, OCIE has effectively engaged with investors and the industry to promote compliance, worked to detect and prevent fraud, and advised the Commission on policy issues and developing risks.”
“I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Chair White, the Commission, and with such dedicated and talented colleagues in OCIE,” said Mr. Bowden. “The work they do is extremely important. Each day they come to work to protect investors and the integrity of our complex and adaptive capital markets.”
I would like to thank all of writers and members of the press who called attention to and criticized Bowden’s fawning, which undermined his credibility and that of the SEC, and to Naked Capitalism readers who called and wrote their Congressmen and Mary Jo White. Even with regulatory capture and the revolving door recognized as common if not pervasive, some conduct is still recognized as being outside the pale.
I would also like to thank those who recognized our role (and are tweaking those who don’t), such as:
— Francine McKenna (@retheauditors) April 7, 2015
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) April 7, 2015
And thanks again to the NC community! Let’s hope the SEC got the message and realizes it needs to be tough on enforcement, particularly in private equity.