I don't know what the purpose of last week's hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission since nothing really came from them, other than realizing that you can earn tens of millions of dollars by doing absolutely nothing. Or at least telling people that you did absolutely nothing.
Robert Rubin, the former U.S. treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, stuck to his Sergeant Shultz defense of "I know nothing."
Forgive me if I just honestly don't believe the guy. Or if he truly did do nothing at
, then he was slightly overpaid, to the tune of over $100 million.
The hearing explored the role Rubin and former CEO Charles Prince played in the company's more than $58 billion in write-downs on assets linked to subprime mortgages.
While Prince showed some semblance of humility and culpability, Rubin more or less told the committee he had nothing to do with any of it. Apparently the role of chairman of the executive committee is equivalent to that of a mattress tester.
Wall Street continues to wonder why Main Street is ready to grab their pitchforks and they need only to look in the mirror.
I'm in the industry and I'm mad. The shareholders of Citigroup, and more importantly U.S. taxpayers, are owed a full accounting of who did what when and how. And if Mr. Rubin really did do nothing, he owes shareholders and us over $100 million. If he was involved in the decision making, he needs to stand up and take responsibility for his actions.
It appears the government is finally getting serious. Today the SEC announced a civil suit against
, alleging fraud among other things.
They were allegedly taking both sides of a trade by telling investor's one thing while doing another and making money doing it. Anyone with any time on Wall Street knew this but also believed GS to be bullet proof. The list of Goldman alumni (Paulson, Corzine, Rubin, etc) is long and distinguished (maybe). But the times, they are a changing.
The American public does not like getting suckered and they really don't like seeing the people who suckered them getting away with it. To date, only two people have been formally charged with a crime relating to the financial crisis and their case is a little flimsy. We deserve better.
Financial companies get bailed out and then turn around and raise credit card rates and foreclose on underwater homeowners. Nice...
Firing Line: We need a full accounting of who was responsible for this crisis and what we must do to prevent something like this from happening again. Until leaders like Robert Rubin and companies like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs start stepping up and take some responsibility for this crisis, we're certain to go through this madness again.
At the time of publication, Buckley was not long any stocks mentioned. Matthew "Whiz" Buckley is the chief strategy officer of
, a provider of options education for options traders of all levels. . He is also the founder of Strike Fighter Financial, a business-consulting firm specializing in leadership development, risk management and strategic planning for Fortune 500 companies and related organizations. Buckley flew the F-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy. He's a graduate of TOPGUN, has close to 400 carrier landings and flew 44 combat sorties over Iraq. After leaving active duty, he worked as managing director of strategy at a Wall Street firm and CEO of a financial media company. He is an internationally recognized speaker and combined his experiences in the military and corporate America in his book "From Sea Level to C Level."