In 2010, I ran a multi-family office, employed 11 people, published articles on finance and campaigned for shareholder rights. I am now barred from practicing my profession.

The Securities and Exchange Commission wants you to believe I gambled my career and reputation in a scheme designed to overcharge my clients by $2,269, about $70 per month—possibly the smallest case the SEC has ever undertaken.

There was no trial or hearing. I never pleaded guilty or admitted breaking any laws. But the SEC was judge, jury and executioner. I accepted the SEC’s offer of a one-year suspension and should have returned to work three years ago. Yet, somehow, the agency decided I’m permanently barred. How? I don’t know. Why? It won’t show me the documents.

My experience may sound improbable. Originally, financial regulation did not work this way. But after the 2008 crisis, the SEC came under pressure to win cases and levy fines. A well-meaning Congress gave the SEC enormous powers: the power to make its own rules, enforce those rules against individuals as well as firms, and require that in-house judges try cases. The SEC has poured hundreds of billions of dollars in fines into the U.S. Treasury, including the fines it uses to fund itself. Big firms pay big money to avoid prosecution. Small firms are simply destroyed.

The SEC should return to its mission, vigorously enforcing the dissemination and disclosure of financial information based on honest accounting and making sure the markets run efficiently and smoothly. The SEC should once again enforce laws created by legislators and try cases in front of unbiased judges, bound by the principles of due process and equal protection.

I want to get my reputation back and return openness and fairness to a system that was once the envy of the world. If this can happen to me, it can happen to you. If you don’t care about me or the SEC, remember that many of the same laws apply to the IRS, the EPA, the Department of Labor and even Immigration.

Write a letter to the editor. Contact elected officials. Forward this website’s link to friends. Or just hit the follow button.

Read my story. Hopefully, you’ll want to get involved too.

Eric D. Wanger, The $2,200 Man
Chicago, 2017

The $2,200 Dollar Man: Eric D. Wanger, the SEC, and the Price of Shareholder Activism

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Eric has nearly 30 years of experience as a creative and entrepreneurial professional in roles ranging from general management, team leadership and project management to technical rolls in IT, software development financial services and law. He has run business units, managed teams and delivered projects for established global enterprises and as the founder of a number of startups. Over his nearly 30 years at work, his job titles have included Board Member (public, private and non-profit), President, Founder, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Research, Chief Investment Officer, Fund Manager, Software Developer, Securities Analyst, Web Designer, Systems Integrator, Investment Advisor, Fundraiser, Consultant and Attorney. As a software consultant, cloud based, mobile app software as a consultant to one of the world’s leading electronic medical records companies (Cerner). As Chief Investment Officer and Director of Research for a startup financial services firm (Wanger OmniWealth, LLC), he developed a proprietary, risk-based holistic reporting platform for wealthy families and a set of allocation models based on it. He has developed automated trading systems for equity and equity ETF's. Between 2002 and 2013, Eric served as a portfolio manager of the Long Term Opportunity fund (small/micro-cap equities), the Alternative Fixed Income Fund (blend of exchange traded and privately negotiated debt) and as the strategist and founder (with Ralph Wanger) for the Income and Growth Fund (multi-asset class dividend strategy). Eric was a senior investment analyst at Barrington Research Associates (Chicago) covering technology and business services. Prior to that, Eric was a software, communications, and technology analyst for the Edgewater Funds, a private equity/venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. Before joining Edgewater funds in 2000, Eric worked in Silicon Valley providing consulting, training, and software development to early-¬stage firms. Between 1991 and 1996, Eric was a principal consultant at EDW, Ltd, a firm he founded to provide software development, training in rapid software development techniques (NeXT), and systems interoperability consulting services for large multi-vendor and distributed computer networks. EDW's clients included such companies as Fannie Mae, MCI, Swiss Bank Corp (UBS), Chrysler, Merrill Lynch, Apple Computer, Stanford University, and The Acorn Funds. Eric received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and is a member of the California Bar. He was co-founder and managing editor of the Stanford Technology Law Review. Eric was awarded a National Merit Scholarship in 1981. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-¬Champaign and received a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2005. Eric lives in Chicago with his three children and a fat English Labrador retriever named Casper. He enjoys classical and jazz piano, hiking and aviation. He is an instrument rated pilot. Eric serves as a trustee for the Acorn Foundation and is active at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: