I just returned from Nino's in Manhattan, where the authors of The Club No One Wanted to Join gathered to discuss their book. They are a group of twenty-nine investors in Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Their book describes the change in their lives since the shattering confession on December 11, 2008.
The television show, Inside Edition, conducted an excellent interview with multiple contributors. I won't get the following exchange 100 percent right. But these words are really close.
Inside Edition: "It's been reported that Madoff said, 'Screw the victims.' What's your response?"
Answer in chorus: "He already did."
The gathering was no "pity party." Nor is the book, as one of the authors, on page 145, asserted. I came away from the event with at least three nagging questions that transcend personal reversals of fortune:
- Can the distribution of assets be fair when a) the trustee is paid by SIPC and b) SIPC's interests run counter to those of the victims?
- Why are investors in feeder funds not eligible for SIPC payments? Their money was green, too, right?
- When will we see a hard separation between the custodial and money management functions so that one entity never controls the entire flow of information to investors?
It's been about eighteen months since Madoff's confession. Now he's talking trash behind bars, and there's a financial reform bill on the way to the White House for the President's signature. But I still wonder if investors are any safer from financial predators.
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