March 25, 1998
Thank you Mr. Chairman for scheduling today's hearing in such a timely fashion. I think the
speed with which Chairman Levitt's renomination process is testimony not only to the excellent
job that he has done over the past five years, but also to our desire to get him re-confirmed before
he has a chance to change his mind about serving another term.
I would just preface my formal remarks today but indicating that I am obviously quite pleased
that the Securities & Exchange Commission is supporting enactment of S.1260, the Securities
Litigation Uniform Standards Act.
There will be plenty of time soon to focus on the specifics of this legislation so let me just say
that the Commission's support not only underscores the need to pass this legislation swiftly, but
that the legislation will deter frivolous and abusive lawsuits while allowing legitimately
defrauded investors to seek justice in the courts.
But this is not a day to discuss litigation reform, but a day, really to reflect on the performance of
the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission over the past five years, and to ask
ourselves whether he should be confirmed to a second term.
I think the answer to that question is a resounding "yes" and let me briefly tell you why:
First, and foremost, in the midst of the greatest bull market in generations, where many would be
content simply not to rock the boat, Arthur Levitt has been aggressive in trying to create the best
possible capital markets for small, individual investors.
This mission has taken many forms. It's meant shaking up both the industry and the
Commission's own bureaucracy to create a plain english standard so that potential investors can
understand the prospectuses that they obtain and so that companies can clearly understand what
the Commission is seeking in new rules and proposals.
Other times it has been an even bigger task, such as the dramatic reform of the operation of the
Nasdaq stock markets after both a joint SEC and Justice Department probe found widespread
abuses, conflicts of interest and price fixing.
I cannot think of an SEC Chairman who has been more dedicated to bringing the Commission's
work and advice to the public. As a matter of fact, last year, I participated in one of Arthur's
famous town meetings in Hamden, Connecticut.
It was like being on stage with Oprah Winfrey. Arthur was roaming the stage, venturing into the
audience, bantering with the more than 900 people in attendance.
It was more like a revival meeting than a traditional lecture from the nation's top securities
But the crucial point is that Arthur communicated to these people; the important messages about
what investors can and should do to protect themselves were not lost in the dry cadences of an
academic or the impenetrable speech of a career bureaucrat.
At a time when individual participation in the capital markets is at an all-time high, these are the
added talents that a securities regulator needs.
He needs to be equally at home talking with hundreds of small investors as he is in breaking up
the "pay-to-play" requirements of the municipal bond industry.
We are fortunate to have a man of Arthur Levitt's integrity, business acumen and charisma at the
head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
I strongly support his reconfirmation and I look forward to swift action by the Committee to
favorably report his nomination to the full Senate.
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