The atmosphere was rather tense when US Securities and Exchange chairman, Christopher Cox, stepped up to the podium to address the US Chamber of Commerce.
Here was the embodiment of the regulator, about to deliver a whipping to the body representing business. ‘Yes, it is unusual, at least in recent times, for the SEC chairman to be here, given that our two organisations have sometimes held an uneasy acquaintance,’ Cox said in acknowledgment of the strained relations between the two over US corporate scandals of recent years. And he continued: ‘Still, we’ve managed to maintain a cordial relationship, many of us on a first name basis. Defendant. Plaintiff. Appellant.’
The icy atmosphere warmed up as the house roared with laughter.
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