Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Several short news items of note

Three interesting finance related stories:

1. "Last week...the National Association of Securities Dealers'.... board of governors approved a change in arbitration procedures that will let investors involved in a dispute request an explanation of why their claim was tossed....Under the current rules, arbitrators aren't required to explain their decisions."

2. What causes people to declare bankruptcy? Very often it is an illness. That is the finding of a study by Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School. From the Houston Chronicle: "Illness and medical bills now cause roughly half of all bankruptcies in the United States, more than a 23-fold increase since 1981, according to a new study." The skeptic in me questions a 23 fold jump in anything, but the fact that nearly half of all bankruptcies are caused by "illness and medical bills" is interesting and important. In a more recent study Warren also reports that "more than 90 percent of the families in bankruptcy qualify as middle class."

3. The NYSE was ordered (and complied) to release the details of Rochard Grasso's pay package. Grasso of course was forced out as a result of the pay package that was deemed excessive and as further evidence of poor governance at the NYSE. From the NY Times:
"The New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday released a previously confidential report detailing how former chairman Richard A. Grasso received his controversial $187.5 million pay package. The release came five days after a New York state judge ruled the contents of the 127-page report could not be shielded from the public by attorney-client privilege."

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