Dear Regulators: Never Trust Someone Who Doesn't Use Email

So once again, bankers are in trouble because of emails, this time at UBS.  It would seem that nobody ever learns anything.

But you know one guy who didn’t use email? Bernie Madoff, that’s who.

Eric Falkenstein observes, following the recent of some Madoff telephone recordings:

It reminds me how every powerful trading desk head treats regulators and risk managers, with duplicity and contempt. Not… that everyone is a fraud like Madoff, but truly independent risk managers are considered lightweights and eager to join those they are policing. In UBS’s Report to Shareholders, they noted their Internal Audit group did 250 reviews a year. With that many reviews, the analysis is pretty superficial. It’s a mismatch.

Clearly, [Madoff] understood phone calls are best. People who meticulously avoid email should not be trusted, because it is simply too calculating, as if they know they are regularly committing crimes. A phone conversation can always be disavowed, you just say you were talking about last weekend’s bar mitzvah.

We’d still say that if you’re up to (what you think is) no good, you better lay off the email and stick to phone. But if your job is to catch the bad people, pay attention to anyone who insists on communicating like this.

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