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Billionaire Investor Mark Cuban Has a Few Choice Words for the SEC

Cuban says federal agencies are putting in place regulations that prevent companies from raising money on the public markets.

Asa Mathat

Billionaire investor and TV “Shark” Mark Cuban says the single largest obstacle to young companies raising money through the public stock markets is the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The regulatory agency is “screwing stuff up,” Cuban said in remarks made Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive conference at The Montage in Laguna Beach, Calif. He added that the SEC has failed to identify flagrant abuses by companies such as Enron or Global Crossing, and responds after the fact with regulations that make it harder for the next generation of companies to raise money through public stock offerings.

“If the SEC isn’t paying attention to what’s going on, we’re going to have more disasters,” Cuban said. “And the way this country reacts to disaster is to have more regulation out there.”

A serial entrepreneur and investor, Cuban is best known as the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and star of the ABC TV show “Shark Tank.” He has built a reputation for provocative comments — and Washington, D.C., is one of his favorite targets.

At the conference, Cuban said that mainstream investors don’t trust the public stock markets. And they have good reason: Regulators have yet to get a handle on what the serial investor in startups thinks of as dangerous behavior — like algorithmic trading. In the past, it has failed to notice obvious red flags, such as investors shorting Enron stocks “left and right.”

“We have over-regulation because the SEC to this day cannot do their job,” Cuban said.

Earlier this year, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a set of rules that would give the commission greater power to enforce the principle of net neutrality. At February’s Code/Media conference, Cuban asserted that the proposal will “fuck everything up,” and portrayed it as an attack on big companies like Comcast.*

* Comcast Ventures is an investor in Vox Media, which owns Re/code.

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