Speech by SEC Commissioner:
Restoring Investors' Voices — The Launch of the Investor Advisory Committee
Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
July 27, 2009
Good Morning and Welcome to the SEC.
Today marks an important step in the Commission's future. With the launch of the Investor Advisory Committee, the Commission is signaling that it is returning to its roots as "the investor's advocate." As Congress and the Commission look toward regulatory restructuring and reinvigorating the Commission with new authority and enhanced resources to fulfill its mission as the country's capital markets regulator, it is imperative that we listen to the voices of investors.
The heart and soul of this agency is investor protection. I applaud Chairman Schapiro for prioritizing the formation of this Committee. I have supported the idea of an investors' committee for a long time. The need to restore the voices of investors has never been more vital and I am thrilled to be the committee's sponsor.
As the pioneering members of the Investor Advisory Committee, you have been tasked with the important role of providing investor views on the Commission's regulatory agenda. The mandate of this Committee is broad and compelling.
This mandate means that you are being asked to provide views on the Commission's regulatory agenda — both current and future. The work of this Committee will support the Commission's goals to promote the interests of investors, and it will also be instrumental in shaping the Commission's investor education efforts and other potential initiatives.
The investing public needs you to be bold and to speak for them — with conviction, courage and clarity. I encourage you to think expansively, and creatively. The broad mandate of this committee offers the opportunity for you to consider all the ways that investors engage in the capital markets, and to advise the Commission as to how it can best address the needs of investors. The work of this Committee will be difficult but, more importantly, it will be significant.
One of the important things that will be discussed today is the committee's future agenda. What course this committee charts is up to you. In thinking through how to organize the committee's future work, it may be useful to think through a conceptual framework based on the ways that investors interact with the capital markets. Investors make many decisions — investment decisions, voting decisions, and decisions about service providers, such as investment advisers and broker-dealers. This committee should think about what information investors have in their hands when they make these decisions, and the process by which the decisions are made. This committee's advice will be crucial to the Commission as it considers how the decision making process can be improved, how the information can be better, and what educational efforts should be initiated.
I'm sure there will be robust discussions on many topics. We can expect that various views will be expressed . . . some in agreement, some in disagreement. But we should look forward to those healthy debates. I believe they will serve the Commission and the nation well.
I joined the Commission one year ago this week and I'm delighted to celebrate my anniversary with the inauguration of the Investor Advisory Committee. It is a privilege to use my 30 years of experience in the securities industry and to put it to work for the betterment of investors and the American public.
I look around this room and I see smart, accomplished, and very busy people. I am encouraged to see that so many of you have answered the call of public service by agreeing to be on this Committee. I commend each of you for being willing to devote your valuable time to working to make things better for investors. Working together we can make great strides to amplify investors' voices and improve our capital markets.
I am looking forward to working with all of you on these fundamental and important issues. For those of you who do not know me, I welcome getting to know all of you better. Let me introduce my counsels, Smeeta Ramarathnam and Zak May, whom you should feel free to call on at any time, along with Kayla and the rest of the SEC staff.
Mac and Hye-Won, thank you for agreeing to co-chair this historic committee and thanks to everyone for devoting their time to this important endeavor.