NEW YORK, April 14 (Reuters) - Bernard Madoff, who was convicted for running the largest known Ponzi scheme in history, died on Wednesday in prison where he was serving a 150-year sentence, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said. He was 82.
Madoff for decades presented himself as a successful and trusted Wall Street kingpin while secretly engaging in investment fraud, prompting his sentencing judge to condemn his crimes as "extraordinarily evil." read more
RICHARD BREEDEN, SPECIAL MASTER, MADOFF VICTIM FUND, FORMER CHAIRMAN, U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
"This is certainly the largest single crime against
individual investors in world history. We should never let this
happen again. None of us can go back to eliminate the anguish
that victims suffered, or restore the years when their lives are
horribly affected. You can put them back in the financial
position they were in, but you can't eliminate the suffering."
"The oversight by the SEC and other regulators was not
sufficient. Crimes will happen, despite our best efforts to
prevent them. It is critical for investors to be alert and to
diversify their holdings. It is never safe to put most of your
financial life into any one person's hands."
"I worry when I look at public policy in Washington
generally that we often get diverted by issues of the moment,
and distracted by the core responsibility to prevent fraud on
our investors. That includes not just Ponzi schemes, but
financial overreaching such as false reporting and market
manipulation. Financial fraud and similar crimes that average
investors their money and destroy incentives for savings should
remain front and center among regulators and Congress."
"Madoff died on the anniversary of the sinking of the
Titanic. Fundamental changes were made after that to reduce the
risk of loss of life at sea. Similarly, I hope Madoff's crime
will lead to fundamental improvements in preventing such a crime
in the future. Part of that change has to come in behavior by
individuals, by investors."
"I hope that internally inside the SEC, their examination
programs are better, and investors are more wary of they hear at
the country club that there is a grand investment they should
get into before it's too late. People have to protect
themselves, and not wait for regulators to do it. We're living
in a world of SPACs and tech stocks with multiples near where
they were before the dot-com crash. I wish we could point to a
single silver bullet to prevent investors from losing money, but
there isn't. Investing for the long run is prudent, but you have
to be eternally vigilant in how you do it. If you invest in
intermediaries like Madoff, you have to know who they are. Like
Ronald Reagan said, trust but verify."
PETER KENNY, FOUNDER, KENNY’S COMMENTARY LLC AND STRATEGIC BOARD SOLUTIONS LLC, DENVER
“His passing is the end of an era but it is not the end of the story. Some industries happen to attract people who have really the worst human characteristics of greed, selfishness, self-centeredness, a lack of humility. Some industries just seem to attract more than their fair share of those sorts of very unattractive human traits, financial markets just happens to be one of them.
"There are wonderful people in financial services, more than I can shake a stick at. But the bottom line is Bernie Madoff in so many respects ... is the poster boy of what many people think of as people in financial markets. It is not true but he certainly was the man of the hour if not the man of the century in terms of his just blatant, outright deception. I don’t think that anybody who was alive when he was arrested and who is still around today will ever forget just the bold nature of what he did and the amount of work it took to do it.”
“This guy, his commitment to fraud was simply stunning. He fooled some very, very smart people. And what makes it even more perverse is that he had the chutzpah to make managing money by him a privilege. The gall of this individual. It is literally difficult to believe. He wouldn’t take anybody’s money, you had to have his personal stamp of approval, he was very selective. What I think is even more revolting is that many of his clients, much of the money was people of his own faith, people who he was very selective about, and he took them to the cleaners purely on their trust of him. It’s evil. It was absolutely evil. I don’t think anybody is crying for his having passed to the next world.”
PAUL NOLTE, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, KINGSVIEW INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, CHICAGO
“Judging by the stuff going on today around spacs and recent hedge fund blow up, greed is still with us and will be a part of the markets as long as there are markets.”
RICK MECKLER, PARTNER, CHERRY LANE INVESTMENTS, NEW VERNON, NEW JERSEY
"It's a tragic story. I think at the end of the day, it's just a lesson that people need to be more vigilant about their investments and understand the nature of where the returns are coming from.
"The lesson is more on the investment side, that people need to do due diligence. They can't just be happy they're getting a return; they need to understand why they're getting a return to avoid things like this."
RYAN DETRICK, SENIOR MARKET STRATEGIST, LPL FINANCIAL, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
“It’s a harsh reminder of where we’ve been, from the depths of the financial crisis, how bad things got, and the terrible Madoff scandal that hurt so many people.
"It’s interesting it happened the day we had extremely strong financial and bank earnings, which justify this current economic recovery and stock market valuations.”
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