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Sweeping Generalizations

One of the things I hate about politicians is that they almost always make a sweeping generalization when faced with an issue.  They'll take bold swift action and miss out on the nuance.  Here's the latest example:

There seems to be some corruption involved with placement agents who grant access to the NY State Pension Funds.  Bloomberg writes about it here.  The NY Attorney General has banned the use of placement agents that help funds get access to the states $121.9B pension fund.  It sounds like a good idea -- get rid of the intermediaries and remove a source of possible kick-backs.  But, it will actually constrict the access to those funds.  Most fund managers don't have direct contacts with the NY State pension funds.  They need to hire intermediaries who have those relationships.  That's not a problem.  The problem is if those relationships are misused.

So, rather than banning all placement agents, the government should require transparency when it's money is placed through placement agents.  I would name both the placement agent firm and the principals of that firm.  Then, political connections and donations would be apparent.  As I have mentioned before, I am not a fan of regulation that restricts activity.  Instead, I think that regulation should be focused on reporting and transparency.  If the information is available, the public can decide if there is a problem, or it can be checked by some oversight board.

By the way, avoiding sweeping solutions is important for entrepreneurs.  Too many times an executive will make a sweeping decision without understanding the nuance.  While appearcing decisive and strong due to the broad action, they may be making critical errors if they miss out on the nuance of the situation and how they should be taking advantage of it.


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