Enough is Enough! Respectfully, Tom Gilson

Dear Senator McCain / Flake:

I’m writing about my good friend Eric Wanger, a Chicago money manager who has had a nightmarish experience with the SEC over the last six years.  

The SEC accused Eric of violating technical rules when he executed 15 transactions over a period of years. The total losses resulting from these claimed violations was $2,200 — a tiny fraction of Eric’s portfolio. The SEC’s enforcement division initiated a legal action that was heard by an Administrative Law Judge — an SEC employee, who, unsurprisingly, ruled consistently against Eric. Believing he could not get a fair shake, Eric agreed to settle the charges without admitting liability. He paid a fine and agreed to a one-year suspension from the industry.  

The one-year “suspension” ended five years ago, but Eric remains barred from the industry. Nobody will hire him, and the SEC’s staff has rejected his pleas for reinstatement.

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Gretchen Morgenson told Eric’s story in a recent New York Times article: 

As your constituent, I’m outraged that an American citizen — and a good man — has been treated so shabbily. He has been denied due process before the SEC, and has received a shockingly disproportionate punishment for the minor violations he was accused of. I am reminded of the fictional character Jean Valjean, who was hounded for years by a police officer because he stole a loaf of bread. I don’t believe Eric violated any rule, but even if he did, this penalty — a virtual life sentence for a $2,200 violation — is grossly unwarranted and unfair.

Enough is enough. There is a petition now pending before the SEC requesting Eric’s reinstatement to the securities industry. Please do whatever you can to make sure this absurd penalty is lifted. Contact the members of the Banking Committee or the Commissioners themselves, and help bring Eric’s nightmare to an end. 

For years, Eric believed what he was taught in civics class: that the Constitution guarantees due process in administrative proceedings, and that the government acts in the interest of justice. This experience has given him grave doubts. Make him believe again.  


Tom Gilson

bio: Thomas Gilson

Author: Eric D. Wanger

Eric has nearly 30 years of experience as a creative and entrepreneurial professional in roles ranging from general management, team leadership and project management to technical rolls in IT, software development financial services and law. He has run business units, managed teams and delivered projects for established global enterprises and as the founder of a number of startups. Over his nearly 30 years at work, his job titles have included Board Member (public, private and non-profit), President, Founder, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Research, Chief Investment Officer, Fund Manager, Software Developer, Securities Analyst, Web Designer, Systems Integrator, Investment Advisor, Fundraiser, Consultant and Attorney. As a software consultant, cloud based, mobile app software as a consultant to one of the world’s leading electronic medical records companies (Cerner). As Chief Investment Officer and Director of Research for a startup financial services firm (Wanger OmniWealth, LLC), he developed a proprietary, risk-based holistic reporting platform for wealthy families and a set of allocation models based on it. He has developed automated trading systems for equity and equity ETF's. Between 2002 and 2013, Eric served as a portfolio manager of the Long Term Opportunity fund (small/micro-cap equities), the Alternative Fixed Income Fund (blend of exchange traded and privately negotiated debt) and as the strategist and founder (with Ralph Wanger) for the Income and Growth Fund (multi-asset class dividend strategy). Eric was a senior investment analyst at Barrington Research Associates (Chicago) covering technology and business services. Prior to that, Eric was a software, communications, and technology analyst for the Edgewater Funds, a private equity/venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. Before joining Edgewater funds in 2000, Eric worked in Silicon Valley providing consulting, training, and software development to early-¬stage firms. Between 1991 and 1996, Eric was a principal consultant at EDW, Ltd, a firm he founded to provide software development, training in rapid software development techniques (NeXT), and systems interoperability consulting services for large multi-vendor and distributed computer networks. EDW's clients included such companies as Fannie Mae, MCI, Swiss Bank Corp (UBS), Chrysler, Merrill Lynch, Apple Computer, Stanford University, and The Acorn Funds. Eric received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and is a member of the California Bar. He was co-founder and managing editor of the Stanford Technology Law Review. Eric was awarded a National Merit Scholarship in 1981. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-¬Champaign and received a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2005. Eric lives in Chicago with his three children and a fat English Labrador retriever named Casper. He enjoys classical and jazz piano, hiking and aviation. He is an instrument rated pilot. Eric serves as a trustee for the Acorn Foundation and is active at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

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