|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Monday, May 8, 2000||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following statement today at a field hearing in Chicago on the regulatory and structural environment for the changing financial markets:
We are very happy to be in Chicago today. We are at the end of our process of looking at the American securities industry and deciding what we can do to ensure that this goose that lays the golden egg for all Americans - and for the country in terms of making the United States the financial center of the world - finds itself happy and content in places like Chicago and New York.
There is almost nothing that the U.S. Government could do that in the lifetime of most of the people in this room would induce them to go live anywhere else. That is not true of the capital markets.
Equity exchanges, futures exchanges can operate anywhere in the world. We are now engaged in intense competition for the right to be the home of these markets.
If you take, for example, futures, options and indexes, in 1988, 78 percent of the transactions were consummated in the U.S. markets. Today, that's 37 percent. That's a dramatic change.
We have seen, especially in the futures market, the growth of the German futures exchange, which has become the largest market in the world.
We invented futures. That market was born here in Chicago, and we are not indifferent to its staying in Chicago.
So, the purpose of our hearing is multifaceted in the sense that we want to look at market structure, we want to look at regulatory burden, we want to look at the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
I am working with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the CFTC and Senator Lugar, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. By the end of this coming week, we will introduce a bill together that I hope will be a consensus bill that will grant legal certainty to swaps, provide for the trading of futures on individual stocks, and provide regulatory relief for exchanges all across America.
These are important issues. It's hard to think of issues that are more important to working Americans than our financial markets. They are important to working Americans because half of all Americans own equities, either directly or indirectly, and because the fact that we have the best capital market in the world means that we also have the best working conditions and the highest living standards in the world.