By Hal M. Bundrick
NEW YORK (MainStreet) Maris Jensen is a woman on a mission. She is nearly single-handedly attempting to pull the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into the 21st Century. Or, at least into the latter part of the last century.
"In March last year, I told my boss at the Securities and Exchange Commission that our website was terrible and we needed to do something about it," she says. She's direct like that. Straight to the point, unfiltered. In fact, she was fired from her job as an SEC analyst for displaying "a lack of respect for senior management." She claims those were their exact words.
"Specifically, it was for 'profanity unbecoming a federal employee' and for referring to a meeting as a 'dog and pony show,'" Jensen cheerfully admits.
So, just how is she trying to upgrade the SEC? By making the agency's data more accessible.
"We needed to build a user-friendly Website for retail investors, one that walked non-professionals through the data in SEC filings and helped them research companies," Jensen says. "This is public data we're talking about; it should be easy for the public to use. The SEC knows that this is a problem: they've spent millions studying how to improve public access to the data with task forces, initiatives and all the rest -- and they spend over $3.5 million each year buying back SEC filings data in usable form from commercial vendors for internal use. But in the past 20 years, nothing has actually gotten done."