Kamen on Anticipatory Angst


The SEC hasn’t changed its laws since 1940, Ken Kamen warned, and it won’t be easy for legislators (most of whom aren’t financial experts) to make sweeping changes in a hurry. Kamen (above right) is president of Mercadien Asset Management. He was hosted by Rotarian Jack Fein, a principal at Mercadien (above left), when he spoke at the Princeton Rotary meeting at the Nassau Club on Tuesday, April 20.

Kamen has an unusual credential, thanks to having sold his previous business (Princeton Securities) and needing to “sit out” for two years. Not only was it a good two years to be out of the market (2000-2002) but he had was tapped to advise Congress on the ins and outs of finances during the period of the Enron meltdown.

Congress won’t be helped by the media, he predicts, because when business reporting was in its infancy, newspaper modeled their business coverage after sports reporting (with its endless minutiae of statistics and personalities) or weather reporting. “The media covers volatility, not issues,” he said. “If Pfizer wins, then that must mean Bristol-Myers Squibb is losing. We need the long view, not the temperature of the day.”

Don’t let your business suffer and be paralyzed because of “anticipatory angst” about what the regulatory changes will look like, he said. In the end, everybody will agree on about 90 percent of the final legislation and will fight over five percent of the proposed legislation on the left and five percent on the right. “They disagree only on the periphery. Find out what they agree on, and make your bet before there is a bill.”

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