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David Meister, Financial Watchdog Superstar, to Leave His Agency
After his rockstar performance as head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission enforcement unit, vamping up the organization once mocked as “the watchdog that didn’t bark,” with a 90 percent increase in number of financial institutes they’ve gone after during his three years working there, David Meister is now stepping down and leaving the institute, in anticipation of the agency’s chairman, Gary Gensler, whose term expires December. Meister says the reason he is leaving is so he can spend more time with his family – he’s 50, and his youngest son is a senior in highschool – and it is expected that he will return to the private sector, though he has no job lined up.
Meanwhile, many are wondering if the absence of him and David Meister will sap the energy from the agency.
He did indeed bring a verve with him. He went after the nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan, CME, and Jon S. Corzine, former governor of New Jersey. He said upon his first week that “While we won’t bring cases we don’t think we can win, if the best settlement a defendant offers is beneath what we think is acceptable, we won’t hesitate, and we won’t go lower.”
This lead to a successful take on Barclays, in which they fined the bank to $200 million, and it also lead the biggest settlement the agency ever had, with a $700 million from UBS.
“David understands the importance of a vigorous enforcement arm” said Mr. Gensler. “He didn’t shy away from a touch case.”
Nevertheless, with his absence, some if its toughest cases will be left unfinished. The JPMorgan case is still unfinished, with settlement talk reopening a week ago.
He nevertheless seems confident the firm will continue as they are. “We’re really in an upwards trajectory,” he said, according to Dealbook. “There is a real energy in the agency.”
(image source: dealbook.com)