Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Angelides to head financial crisis investigation


WASHINGTON -- Congressional lawmakers released the names Wednesday of 10 members of the Financial Crisis Commission, a body set up to investigate the events that led to the monumental collapse of the financial markets last year.

Former California State Treasurer Phil Angelides is to chair the group. Joining him is former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and the ex-chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born.

Representing the business community are Heather Murren, a retired managing director at investment bank Merrill Lynch, and John W. Thompson, chairman of Symantec Corp., a business-software provider. The sixth member of the panel will be Byron Georgiou, a Las Vegas businessman and attorney.

The Republican appointees to the commission are former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Bill Thomas, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economic adviser to Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) during last year's presidential campaign, former director of the Bush White House's National Economic Council Keith Hennessey, and Peter Wallison, a director at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

The panel was created by Congress earlier this year. Lawmakers demanded a full investigation into how one of the greatest collapse in the financial markets occurred. It is mandated with reporting back to Congress by Dec. 15, 2010, with a series of conclusions about what occurred, and recommendations as to how to avoid future market breakdowns. There have been some fears expressed that the committee's work will be outpaced by efforts already under way to completely overhaul the regulation of the financial sector.

The Obama administration has revealed details of its planned rewriting of the regulatory framework which would see the Federal Reserve given the authority to oversee firms deemed systemically risky, and the creation of a new consumer financial protection regulator.

It is modeled on the Pecora Commission, a Senate panel that investigated causes of the Great Depression during the 1930s. The Pecora Commission led to major changes in federal law, including the creation of Securities Exchange Commission.

Write to By Corey Boles at Corey.Boles@dowjones.com

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