Enron, Anyone?

Matt Taibbi on the JOBS Act:

For instance, if this bill is supposedly about increasing access to capital for small businesses, why do we also need to repeal the conflict-of-interest ban on bank analysts talking up startup firms in an attempt to gain their investment banking business? Wasn’t it just ten minutes ago that Eliot Spitzer had to drag the entire financial services industry into court for pumping up worthless stocks in order to get their business?

People have apparently forgotten just how crooked the IPO market was during the tech boom. Banks and underwriters were openly, nakedly, offering to sell their research in exchange for investment banking business. Piper Jaffray, for instance, made a pitch to be the investment banker for a medical startup called TheraSense Inc. by including in its pitch materials mock copies of mock research reports – reports that included a “strong buy” recommendation. The “mock” report contained drooling descriptions of the hypothetical sales of TheraSense, calling the company’s fictional sales “nothing short of breathtaking.”


Enron, Anyone?