A former Wall Street insider excoriates the current nonsystem of alleged self-regulation and weak government regulation in the finance industry.
After being employed as a mortgage-backed securities trader at Bank of America, Bear Stearns and other large financial firms, Doyle became disillusioned and departed. He now runs his own investment practice and serves as something of a whistle-blower. The problems he discusses are mostly familiar to readers conversant in current American politics: the coziness of legislators and lobbyists; campaign contributions meant to sway thinking and, sometimes, votes; government regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, that seem more watchful than they are, as well as so-called self-regulatory groups within the Wall Street community that rarely protect investors from inexcusable financial losses. With great intensity, Doyle focuses on a little-known self-regulator called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. His deep digging into the operations of that group qualifies as investigative journalism, and the scandalous details he recounts are impressive. Unfortunately, Doyle does not engage lay readers, relying far too heavily on unfamiliar acronyms and institutional prose; further, he does not draw memorable characters, either the heroes or the villains. As a result, the book is mostly exhausting to understand, although the effort may be worthwhile for patient readers with some economics background. The final chapter, a lengthy list of proposed reforms, is far easier to digest. Doyle proposes a new agency to be created by Congress (until now part of the scandal rather than part of the solution)—called the Financial Regulatory Review Board—and run by highly qualified individuals currently in the private sector who have demonstrated a passion for public service. The author has clearly done his homework while thinking about a reform effort.
An important book that could have been much better with improved writing and greater insider sharing by Doyle.