Back in early 2008 the Securities and Exchange Commission was like a baseball team at a crummy school in a run-down neighborhood. They were overweight, out of shape, possibly learning-disabled, and prone to fumbling. Everyone regarded them as basically a joke, especially their coach, Chris Cox, who was really only there so he could fill out his time card in public service and move on to something better. The constant disrespect and lack of attention caused the SEC to develop low self-esteem, and thus, when people were nice to them — like Bernie Madoff — they ate up the attention. But then something very bad happened. Madoff, having lured them into his home with stories and sweets, violently raped the SEC, wrote HAHAHA SUCKERS on their foreheads, and hung them by their underwear on a fence outside the gym. Not literally, but, you know, metaphorically. After this humiliating incident made national headlines, the school finally took it upon themselves to appoint a new coach, in the form of SEC head of enforcement Robert S. Khuzami, or, as we're calling him after today's feel-good NYT story, the Khuzmaster.
It was a tough task, turning this team around, but through a program of tough love, journalling, and occasional bear hugs in which he tells them "It's not your fault," the "straight-talking former federal prosecutor and Wall Street executive" is, according to the Times, slowly building the SEC's self-esteem back up. For the first time in their lives, they're actually applying themselves.
Team Khuzami hardly comes across as the Untouchables, but members say they are energized and up to the job.
Kenneth Lench, a lawyer who heads the structured products group, is trying to become an expert in an arcane corner of Wall Street. He totes heavy textbooks on securitization law and says he now reads trade publications like Derivatives Week, the bible of the market in financial derivatives. He also attended an industry conference last month with 10 other S.E.C. lawyers.
You go, Kenneth Lench! What you're doing may be called "remedial" by some people but at least you're trying. All of you! You can Be Something. And don't let nobody tell you different.