Archive for March 13th, 2015

March 13, 2015

Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist Quotes Sovern

Jeff Sovern


Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jeff Gelles quoted Professor Jeff Sovern in his column, Big 3 clean up act, but credit agencies won’t win any love, earlier this week. The column, about a settlement between credit bureaus and the New York Attorney General’s Office, stated:

Will the credit agencies finally clean up their act . . . ? Consumer-policy experts such as Jeff Sovern, a law professor at St. John’s University, have lingering doubts, because of the credit bureaus’ unique position in the market.

* * * Sovern and Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, explained in a 2013 op-ed that creditors can actually benefit if certain kinds of disputes are never solved.

“For their part, lenders may benefit when credit bureaus report consumer defaults, even incorrectly, because such reports put pressure on consumers who wish to maintain good credit ratings to pay even disputed claims,” Sovern and Rheingold wrote – describing a problem I’ve heard about repeatedly from consumers, who say they paid a small bill they didn’t really owe to preserve their credit score.

Sovern and Rheingold wrote back then that “the marketplace can penalize credit bureaus that investigate too aggressively. Credit bureaus are heavily dependent on lenders for both revenue and the information the bureaus package and sell; if a credit bureau presses a lender too hard, the lender could patronize a different bureau and withhold data about its customers.” Sovern says now that since the new settlement applies to all three bureaus, that should be less of a problem. “We will see,” he says.

March 13, 2015

Lazaro Co-Authors Article on Regulation of Investment Advice

On March 4, Professors Christine Lazaro and Ben Edwards co-authored a post for the Christine LazaroCLS Blue Sky Blog, Columbia Law School’s Blog on Corporations and the Capital Markets, entitled “The Fragmented Regulation of Investment Advice: A Call for Harmonization.” The post is based on their article of the same title, which is forthcoming in the Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review. Here’s the start of the post:
Discussions about regulating investment advice have largely focused on whether to harmonize the laws governing two categories of individuals within the securities world—registered investment advisers and stockbrokers.  The discussion has overlooked insurance brokers who often times also provide investment advice. Lazaro and Edwards broaden the focus by arguing that harmonizing the regulation of investment advice necessarily requires reforms reaching beyond securities regulation and into insurance regulation as well.  They argue that consistent standards should govern the investment advice provided to retail investors regardless of who is giving the advice.
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