MIL-OSI USA: Opening Remarks Before the SEC’s 90th Anniversary Event

Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: Securities and Exchange Commission

Washington D.C.

Good afternoon. As is customary, I’d like to note that my views are my own as Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and I am not speaking on behalf of my fellow Chairs or the staff.

I want to welcome the public and thank you for tuning in as we celebrate the 90th anniversary of a milestone in American history.

In the depths of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt worked with Congress to enact the Securities Exchange Act of 1934—creating the SEC and making June 6 our official birthday.[1]

It’s just one of a handful of the original securities laws. But taken together, those laws and this agency put our markets on a path in which investors and issuers alike can have trust in the markets.

These time-tested laws have played an important part in boosting the economic welfare of everyday Americans.

For anyone who doubts the significance of these laws and regulations, think about the schemes and frauds throughout the 1920s that contributed to the Great Depression.

For the sports fans, imagine what would happen to teams, athletes, and fans without fair competition.

The SEC remains a steward of trust, efficiency, and competition within our markets. While the U.S. is roughly 24 percent of the world’s economy, it represents over 40 percent of the world’s capital markets.[2] It’s part of why the U.S. dollar is the world’s leading currency.

I want to close with two letters FDR received before he signed our founding document.

On April 12, 1934, Richard Whitney, then-President of the New York Stock Exchange, wrote to Roosevelt that he was “sincerely disturbed as to what may happen if unsound legislation is enacted.” He went on to write about Sam Rayburn’s modified bill, saying, “I am confident that its enactment would be a disaster.”[3]

A few months later, FDR received a letter from Felix Frankfurter, his adviser who later would become a Supreme Court justice. Frankfurter wrote regarding the “effective administration” the SEC would need to succeed.

“You need administrators,” he wrote, “who have stamina and do not weary of the fight, who are moved neither by blandishments nor fears, who in a word, unite public zeal with unusual capacity.”[4]

90 years later, thousands of SEC staff and over 100 Commissioners and Chairs have answered Frankfurter’s call. I thank them for their service. I thank them for their rectitude. Contrary to Whitney’s belief, the SEC has made it work for investors, issuers, and the over $110 trillion markets we oversee today.

Thank you.