by: Jordan Reth
The 2012 Ward Kershaw Symposium "Too Big to Jail: the Roadblocks to Regulatory Enforcement" kicked off Thursday evening with a brilliant keynote speech from renowned attorney and former chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born. Ms. Born provided specific insight from her years as a public official into how the Global Financial Crisis was set into motion decades earlier through systematic deregulation of the financial services industry.
Citing five key examples of deregulation that plunged the American economy into crisis, Ms. Born spoke about the failure of mortgage lending standards, the failures in policing mortgage securitizations, how the 'over-the-counter' derivatives market was deregulated by federal statute (thereby pre-empting any attempts by state law to regulate federal financial businesses), the profound failure of federal supervision, and the systematic dismantlement and altogether repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, or Banking Act, that was enacted after the Great Depression to prevent future American financial crises.
At one point during the economic boom before the crisis, Ms. Born explained that the explosive growth experienced by investment bankers and other financial service businesses reached levels ten times the GDP of all the world economies combined. While there was no transparency, there was plenty of extensive speculative investment, and, at times, knowledge that financial disclosure to investors was incomplete, misleading, or even fraudulent.
The Ward Kershaw Symposium continued on Friday, Sept. 20, 2012 with a full day of panel discussions furthering the issues outlined by Ms. Born's keynote speech. The Symposium is hosted by the The Maryland Law Review and Center for Progressive Reform in Collaboration with the Center for Health and Homeland Security and the Environmental Law Program.