Financial Regulator Speaks Off the Record with the GBA
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 18:02
One week ago, nine Stern students met at a Cuban restaurant to participate in a new dinner series the Government and Business Association (GBA) recently developed to respond to a student demand for increased interaction with guest speakers.
Off the Record is a new series, matching principal actors in business and politics with small groups of students to discuss important topics that have relevance to future careers. Each speaker will begin with a topic or theme to start the discussion. Conversations lead where they may. Students share a meal and dialogue with an influential business or government practitioner at Groupon-esque prices. Dinners are kept small (fewer than 10 people) in order to add intimacy (no, not that kind of intimacy) and meaningful interaction with the invited guest.
The GBA invited adjunct professor Eric Dinallo, who was featured in the book "Too Big to Fail", to host its inaugural Off the Record. As a resident expert on Professional Responsibility and an experienced prosecutor of corporate criminals and regulator of financial intermediaries, Eric was a perfect choice to speak on the first theme of ethics and Wall Street.
Prior to his current part-time teaching gig and day-time duties as a partner at law firm Debevoise and Plimpton, Eric fulfilled many professional roles that brought him up close and personal with conflicts of interest and corporate misdeeds. As an Assistant Attorney General under Eliot Spitzer, Eric led New York's investigation into conflicts of interest on Wall Street. As the Superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department, Eric was brought in to help the Federal government's bailout of AIG, in spite of the fact that AIG actually fell under the regulatory purview of the Office of Thrift Supervision.
The event delivered exactly what it had promoted. The dinner began with a discussion on ethics and Wall Street and then went off onto a tangent many times. Discussion covered numerous topics including changes in the social contract between financial intermediaries and the investing public, the needs in governmental agencies for employees with MBA skills, the difficulties of campaigning and the importance of good story telling (i.e., conveying your message through a story).
Student participant Douglas Boneparth commented on the discussion with Eric. "Listening to stories about how the state handled AIG and other Wall Street firms was exciting. Credentials aside, Mr. Dinallo's warm and energetic personality made the dining experience fun as well as educational."
One would think that writing an article about an "off the record" conversation would be akin to outing a source, but the purpose of the event is not to get a speaker to give up confidential information. The goal is to engage business and government leaders in meaningful discussions without the constraints of a podium or panelists' table. The conversation can follow a theme fully through its logical conclusion or can go wherever the speaker or students want to take it. The GBA provides the food, venue and speaker; students take the conversation where they want.
"Off The Record is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of what Stern, and the Government and Business Association, has to offer. Where else can you have dinner and drinks with one of the city's best attorneys and be exposed to amazing business experiences and stories?" said Boneparth.
Off The Record is a series the GBA is hoping to host multiple times each semester. Themes for speakers currently being pursued include lobbyism, patent reform, teaching reform and gambling law. To ensure every student is able to obtain a seat at the table, the GBA intends to notify students ahead of the prescribed registration time. Keep an eye out for our next event!