A sira, you see, is a biography of Muhammad. Like this one, although of course the term more properly refers to the ancient traditional biographies of the man that were written by pious Muslims. And so the word can’t be used for something as unholy as a financial organization. That would offend the perpetually offended, you see.
“Broker watchdog to change its name,” by Rachelle Younglai for Reuters (thanks to Looney Tunes):
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A name chosen to represent the merger of two major U.S. brokerage watchdogs will be changed because the acronym may be considered offensive due to its similarity to an Arabic term.
The Securities Industry Regulatory Authority, or SIRA, was the name that had been announced to represent the combination of NASD and NYSE Regulation.
SIRA, which will be regulator for all securities brokers and dealers doing business with the public in the United States, is now considering the name Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA.
When NASD chairman Mary Schapiro announced the name SIRA at a luncheon in June, she was not aware that it “could create confusion or be considered offensive because of its similarity to an Arabic term used to refer to the traditional biographies of Muhammad.”
Create confusion? Really? Devout believers crowding the halls of the New York Stock Exchange, looking for classes on the life of the Prophet? Lawyers in Armani suits storming into mosques and arguing positions for or against the actions of this or that broker? It is hard to imagine a situation in which this would cause any real confusion beyond a momentary diversion during Internet searching.