Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I would like to commend all of our witnesses today for the leadership they've shown during the past nine days. I don't think any of us can truly appreciate the monumental task it was to open the markets Monday morning. I would also like to commend the entire financial services industry for the commitment they've shown in working with regulators and each other during this trying experience. Their reassuring tone about the stability of our markets has been much needed to calm the fears of those who invest in America's financial system.
If the stability and security of America's markets was ever in doubt before September 11th, I don't believe anyone could doubt their stability after this experience. Few financial systems could have sustained the losses of New York City, the financial capital of the world, and after only five days been back and running without any major glitches in the system. The quick responses by our market leaders are a major reason why systems were phased so little.
The Federal Reserve's, the SEC's, and Treasury's actions through this ordeal have been nothing less than superb. The Fed's coordination with the banking community provided the liquidity needed to maintain public confidence in our banking system and the SEC's recognition to relax specific regulatory burdens, particularly Rule 10b-18, provided a much needed buy side to the market.
While we can all applaud the actions of industry and regulators alike, we should also learn how to further prevent market fallout if, god forbid, future attacks occur against our financial markets. We must ensure the industry has back up system upon back up system in case of multiple attacks on the financial system itself. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today to learn what systems are used to ensure no loss of data would have occurred even if the attack had taken place during market hours.
I also hope to hear the thoughts of our witnesses as how best to further strengthen our markets. Between decimalization and a depressed stock market, a number of brokerage houses and traders were already on shaky financial ground. A number of large firms had announced widespread layoffs and profits had been reduced severely. I hope to have direction as to what we, as legislators, can do to sustain vibrancy in the industry.
I also have strong concerns with recent accounts that terrorists' cells around the world possibly gained financially by market manipulation on industries which were affected. I am anxious to learn what leads the regulators are pursuing to investigate potential illegalities. I also want to find out what can be done in the future to prevent terrorists from attempting to manipulate the market in this manner. This should be a foremost priority. It is impossible to break the backs of these terrorists organizations if they continue to be heavily funded - especially if that funding is coming from manipulation of the U.S. stock markets.
Again, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for holding this most important hearing, and I look forward to hearing from our panel.