Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Maybe a better question is this: Which specific financial experts will NOT be going to prison in your opinion?
There’s a concept that is referred to in the law books as “industry practice” or “industry standard” or something like that. The idea is that one indicator of fraud is engaging in behavior outside the norm of the field in which you work.
That concept won’t do the job in the investing advice field. The entire industry is corrupt. We have known for 33 years that there is zero chance that a Buy-and-Hold strategy can ever work for even a single long-term investor. But people in the field noticed that the pure Get Rich Quick approach brings in the bucks just fine, peer-reviewed research be danged.
The standard here has to be broader. We certainly don’t permit 12-year cover-ups of errors in studies that people use for an important purpose in any other field. And we obviously adopted the laws against financial fraud for a reason. If we are going to send Bernie Madoff to prison, it’s more than a little hard to justify not doing the same for the sorts of individuals who have put forward posts in “defense” of Mel Linduaer and John Greaney, who obviously have caused 500 times the human misery.
We can’t send everyone in the field to prison. It’s not practical.
But I think it’s fair to say that the millions of people whose lives have been destroyed are not going to be in a terribly forgiving mood when they learn about the 12-year cover-up. So we are going to need to see action that insures beyond any doubt whatsoever that a message will be sent strong enough to insure that nothing like this will ever happen again.
My guess is that, soon after the next price crash, a number of people will come forward. They will say that their consciences just will not permit them to keep quiet any longer. Then there will be a deluge of truth-telling. . Lots of people will be hoping that by coming forward early, they will either be able to avoid prison or limit their sentences significantly. And It Will Be Clear That the Buy-and-Hold Mafia Just Does Not Have the Power to Maintain the Cover-Up Any Longer.
We will see a media frenzy. That will lead to congressional hearings.
My guess is that there will be responsible people who will come forward with the aim of bringing the nasty side of things to a quick end so that we can all get about the business of taking advantage of the wonderful research findings that the Buy-and-Hold Mafia has been denying us for 33 years now. It wouldn’t surprise me if Congress adopted some form of amnesty for advisors who recommended Buy-and-Hold strategies but who did not show any evidence of bad intent.
I believe that the prison sentences will largely be limited to those who advanced threats of physical violence or who made demands for unjustified board bannings or who advanced hundreds of acts of defamation or who participated in or covered up threats of physical violence against academic researchers. I don’t think that we will be hearing any objections to long prison sentences for those sorts of individuals. It might be that there are other sorts of insanely abusive behavior that has been going on behind the scenes and that that will come out when people are coming forward with honest accounts in an effort to save their skins. But it would be the same general sort of behavior we would be talking about. People don’t care about people making mistakes. People get angry when people are dishonest and when they engage in a cover-up. It’s the people who have engaged in clear acts of dishonesty or cover-ups who should be most concerned about their futures, in my assessment. That means you, Anonymous!
Once the first prison sentences are announced, I believe that all the ugly stuff will come to a quick end. We will see a total reversal. We live in the most exciting time to be an investor in the history of the planet. There are billions of dollars to be made providing millions of middle-class investors with tools that are consistent with what we have learned from the peer-reviewed research over the past three decades. Once there is an announcement of ANY prison sentences, we will be seeing good stuff piled on top of good stuff piled on top of good stuff.
It may take decades for all the criminal and civil cases to work their way through the system. Does it really matter all that much? The good stuff here is 50 times more good than the bad stuff is bad. I think that will be the focus for all except those personally involved in the criminal and civil cases. I obviously cannot say how each case will be resolved. It is going to depend on the behavior of the individuals involved. There will be testimony taken at trials. That’s how the system works, no?
I ain’t going to prison! I know that much! There is no one else alive who has done as much to rein in you Goons as I have. There is no one in a close second place.
Fair enough, Anonymous?
Take care, man.