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The Overworked SEC Makes Time To Entertain Teenagers

If there were candy involved in this, it might be considered creepy.

The SEC hosted a shadowing event at its Washington, DC HQ yesterday (what, no invite for AG?) as well as a few regional offices to show high school students interested in finance just how cool the SEC is and how much fun it is to work for a [dot]gov in the business of protecting investors or whatever it is the SEC purports to do these days.

Participating students are involved in the Academy of Finance, one of five career-themed academies that are part of the National Academy Foundation (NAF). More than 250 students are visiting SEC offices this week in Washington, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. The kids will hear from SEC Commissioners Elisse Walter and Troy Paredes and other SEC leaders in group discussions, and are then paired with an SEC professional to observe the workday. SEC staff members from various divisions and offices volunteered to be shadowed and, according to the press release, “are enjoying the opportunity to explain their work and interact with America’s next generation of financial professionals.”

“By shadowing an SEC employee for the day, students can learn about the SEC’s mission on behalf of investors and the work that we do on a daily basis to achieve it,” said Kathy Floyd, a Deputy Director in the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. “We hope to pique the students’ interest as they consider their own potential career paths in the financial services industry or in public service at an agency like the SEC.”

JD Hoye, President of the National Academy Foundation, added, “The National Academy Foundation provides students with experiences that allow them to see the real world applications of what they are learning in school and hone the skills necessary to excel in their careers. Through our partnership with the SEC, students gain a window into an important part of the financial industry, underscoring the relevance of their class work and exposing them to possible career paths.”

The shadowing program helps the SEC meet objectives in Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which calls for federal financial regulators to seek diversity in their workforce at all levels and, where feasible, to partner with inner-city high schools, girls’ high schools, and high schools with primarily minority populations to establish or enhance financial literacy programs and provide mentoring. Funny, I don’t think any of the dreadlocked teenagers that hang out on my corner are all that interested in finance and accounting beyond the math required to figure out how many 8ths are in an ounce but whatever, good for them.

It’s important to start them young. Way to go, SEC.

German Finance Minister Says No One Needs to Be Thrown Under the Bus for ‘Annoying’ 55 Billion Euro Glitch

Yesterday we learned that officials in the German government were a little surprised that a 55 billion euro accounting error wasn’t discovered by a “certified audit.” They’ve been quite the laughingstock in the German press, so they done their damnedest to find someone to throw under der bus. Well, today German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble basically put everyone at ease – there’s no one to blame!

The Finance Ministry knew “with certainty” on Oct. 13 that an accounting error had occurred after receiving notifications on Oct. 4, Schaeuble said at a press conference in Berlin today, adding the error is “annoying” because its magnitude can unsettle the public. “Here raves the lake and wants to have its victim,” Schaeuble said, citing from Friedrich Schiller’s drama William Tell. “That’s not my understanding” of how the biggest accounting error in Germany’s post-World War II history should be sanctioned, he said.

So rest easy, PwC. You’re off the hook for this one.

Schaeuble Says 55.5 Billion Euro Accounting Error Was a Glitch [Bloomberg]