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Speech by SEC Chairman:
Remarks at the Opening of the SEC Visitors Center Historic Exhibit


Chairman Christopher Cox

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Headquarters Visitors Center
Washington, D.C.
November 1, 2007

Thank you, Herb [Janick, President of the Board of Trustees of the SEC Historical Society]. It's a pleasure to see so many good and old friends of the agency here this afternoon, including former Chairman David Ruder, Carla Rosatti [Executive Director of the SEC Historical Society], Bob Kueppers [Member of the Board of Trustees], and so many others. Welcome to all of you on this historic occasion. This is a truly splendid addition to the SEC's still-new building, which itself will someday have its own history, and its own memories. With this delightful exhibition of photographs that have been so artfully placed here on display, we have acquired a few ghosts of days past — friendly ghosts, to be sure, which may be appropriate this day after Halloween.

It's fun to study the style changes and to take note of some of the details in these photos, from the Depression-era men in three-piece suits, to the women of the 60's in big hair. We can see Joseph Kennedy in a wonderfully relaxed moment with the press, and the festive tribute to William O. Douglas. And I couldn't help but notice also, on Hamer Budge's desk, that late 1960s bestseller, "The Money Game" — written by the new-style financial journalist who took the pen name Adam Smith, a tribute to the author of modern economics — that anticipated the remarkable growth in markets to come.

And behind Chairman Caffrey, in that 1947 photo, you can see the framed copy of Norman Rockwell's classic representation of "Freedom of Speech." If that classic piece of Americana inspired the Commission back then, it should all the more so today, as we press for the kind of transparency in markets around the world that will ensure that investors in global markets have all of the information they need to make sound investment decisions.

Another historic artifact that caught my attention is this 1964 SEC organization chart, with its solid black lines between the Commission and its various divisions, offices, and branch offices. Note that there are 37 faces on it, and unhappily but predictably for the time, all of them are male. We've made great progress in diversifying the management of the Commission since then, but after all these years we still haven't done much about the ungainly number of direct reports to the Chairman. So that is something we'll have to get to work on.

I'm especially glad that we could place this gallery of photographs, each one a visual history lesson, in this particular location in the SEC's Visitor's Center. This will make excellent use of this fine space adjacent to the main lobby. I hope that not only the SEC alumni and staff who are gathered here today, but also the general public will have the opportunity to visit this exhibit and learn about an important part of the rule of law in America's markets.

So thank you, once again, to all who have made this exhibit possible. You have done our country a great service in preserving these memories and presenting them for public display. These are treasures for all of America to see and enjoy — and thanks to you, I'm certain that thousands of our fellow citizens, and perhaps ultimately millions via the virtual museum online, will do so. On behalf of all of us at the SEC, congratulations on this significant contribution to illuminating our nation's financial history.


Modified: 11/13/2007