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My Portfolio.com column examines one of the longest-running legal disputes in SEC history--a ten-year-long struggle to decide how weak a penalty to impose on the American Stock Exchange (NYSE:NYX) and its CEO, Salvatore Sodano.

The SEC found in 2000 that the Amex had done an awful job of keeping its floor traders honest, and directed that it shape up. The Amex did nothing. The SEC reacted to that act of "nonfeasance" by engaging in a little "nonfeasance" of its own.

In the end it decided to impose a penalty that was not only weak, but nonexistent.

Source: The SEC Botches Decade-Long Amex Probe