Opening Statements of Committee Members

Opening Statement of Senator Rod Grams (R-MN)

Hearing on "Maintaining Leadership in the Financial Marketplace of the Future"

9:00 a.m., Monday, May 8, 2000
3rd Floor Conference Center - Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois

Thank you Chairman Gramm and welcome to our panelists.

As we have three panels and ten witnesses to hear from this morning, my opening comments will be brief, but I look forward to exploring some of our issues in greater depth during the question and answer period. This is now the fifth hearing on the subject of market structure held this year by the full Banking Committee or the Securities Subcommittee. The hearings have been very thorough and very informative and we have heard from many segments of the Securities industry. In this Chicago hearing we will hear from representatives of the dynamic Chicago markets which have been the source of both technological and product innovation in recent years. The extent of the innovation was brought home to me recently by a former Treasury Department official who recalled the formation of the CFTC in the mid 70s. The comment he overheard regarding the CFTC was "it won't amount to much, it is just for the farmers." As a farm state Senator who grew up on a farm, I am pleased to know that the continuing development of financial instruments serving the Agriculture sector is alive and well. It is also a tribute to the Chicago financial community that your reach now extends far beyond those agriculture roots.

During the course of this morning's hearing I hope to either learn from your testimony or pursue in follow-up questions the principles or objectives which you believe are important as we consider the legislative and regulatory framework within which the Market structure issue is being considered.

Thus far I have heard two general principles espoused: first, assuring the primacy of the U.S. domestic markets and second, assuring the continued confidence and integrity in our markets.

The first principle of assuring U.S. dominance makes me nervous, as it invites protectionist solutions which I fear will inevitably impede growth and innovation. I believe U.S. markets are best served when they are relatively unfettered and able to compete

The second principle, assuring the confidence and integrity of U.S. markets, I wholeheartedly support. Components of this principle which have been discussed at prior hearings include: transparency, liquidity, efficient execution, competition, innovation, linkage and finally, but importantly, appropriate supervision.

This last competent will be the focus of much of our attention this morning. We are attempting to achieve a delicate balance between providing appropriate levels of supervision to assure market confidence and integrity while at the same time not inhibiting natural market innovation in these transitional times.

Again, I welcome our panelists this morning, and I look forward to your testimony.