I would like to welcome Harvey Pitt this morning before the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
The President has nominated Mr. Pitt to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission and to serve as its Chairman. His nomination papers were completed as of July 9, 2001.
Mr. Pitt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brooklyn College and a Juris Doctor degree from St. John's University.
Mr. Pitt has worked with the securities laws for his entire professional career. After graduating from law school in 1968, he worked at the SEC, rising from working as a staff attorney in Office of the General Counsel to the positions of Chief Counsel of the Division of Market Regulation, Executive Assistant to Chairman Ray Garrett and General Counsel. He was the youngest General Counsel in the SEC's history. In 1978, he left the Commission to join the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where he is a partner. In private practice, he has represented virtually every segment of the securities markets, including securities exchanges, trade associations, accountants, publicly traded corporations, corporate officers, broker-dealers, registered representatives, investors and others.
Mr. Pitt has actively published on securities issues. He has co-authored two legal treatises on financial services: The Law of Financial Services and Securities in the Electronic Age: A Practical Guide to the Law and Regulation. He has co-authored over 300 published articles and nearly 200 law firm client memoranda on many aspects of the securities laws.
Mr. Pitt belongs to several legal, social and educational organizations. He also has served on the Board of Trustees of Cardozo Law School, as Chairman of the Practicing Law Institute Annual Securities Law Institute, as Chairman of the Securities Regulation Institute of Northwestern School of Law, and as President of the SEC Historical Society.
The United States securities markets are the envy of the world. The Chairman of the SEC plays a critical role in promoting the strength and efficiency of these markets and inspiring trust and confidence among investors. I believe that protecting investors, ensuring the fairness and integrity of our securities markets and aggressively enforcing the securities laws are primary functions of the Commission.
Citizens and institutions invest their money in stocks traded on these markets for a number of reasons. They trust the accuracy of the income statements and balance sheets that public companies file. They rely on the certification of financial statements by accountants. They believe that public companies give them fair disclosure and do not make material information available to some investors before others. They trust market and exchange professionals to execute their orders fairly, without stepping ahead or manipulating the market. And, they assume that the SEC and the self-regulatory organizations under its authority are vigorously enforcing the laws, developing methods to more effectively detect and prosecute violators, and imposing significant punishments and, in the case of fines, collecting those fines.
Mr. Pitt's work at the SEC and representing clients brought before the SEC give him an extraordinary knowledge of both the Federal securities laws as well as the varieties of misconduct that can harm investors and the markets. We hope, if confirmed, he will use this knowledge and experience to better protect investors and enhance the quality of the securities markets.
We look forward to hearing the testimony of Mr. Pitt.