Speech by SEC Commissioner:
Answering the Call to Public Service on Behalf of Investors
Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Investor Advisory Committee Meeting
February 22, 2010
Thank you, Chairman. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the members of the Committee who are with us today and to any participants that may be watching by webcast.
It is my pleasure to speak to you as we kickoff the third meeting of the Investor Advisory Committee. Back at the launch of the Committee in July, I mentioned that this Committee had been tasked with a mandate that is both broad and compelling. At the time, I also encouraged you to attempt to speak for the investing public - with conviction, with courage, and with clarity.
I can attest that in the last seven months, you have started to chart the course of the Committee to tackle significant issues. The Committee has moved beyond the threshold organizational hurdles and has begun the hard work of grappling with important issues. I know that this work will yield insights and recommendations for the Commission and our staff.
As this work continues, I would like to encourage you to strive to represent the voices of investors who have neither the resources nor the time to speak to the Commission about the issues that impact them. Each of you became a member of this committee to represent a larger niche in the market rather than a singular institution or investor. I have been heartened by the effort made during your discussions to keep the protection and needs of investors foremost in your minds. This is in stark contrast to the efforts of others to foster regulations and standards that are designed to enhance their business models, with investors being an afterthought. I have heard you say that it is important to think through what an investor's agenda would be like, as opposed to an agenda advocated by those who benefit from investors by selling them products and services. While there may be some overlap between these two agendas, I agree with you that they are not the same.
I can also tell you that as I have traveled the country, and even overseas, there is much excitement about this Committee. My office has received many phone calls from those seeking to become members of the Committee or otherwise want to find ways to contribute to the Committee. I also know that there have been discussions among the members about how to increase retail investor participation in this Committee. I encourage you to continue these discussions and to think creatively about how to draw in that participation.
Recently, at SEC Speaks, I reiterated a principle that underlies why I took this job - to be a civil servant is to take on the mantle of public responsibility. To meet the needs of the investing public and market participants, both the Commission and our staff must work tirelessly in the best tradition of public service. To do this, we must speak from the investor's perspective about the way things have been, the way they are, and the way they should be. Being a member of this Committee is to answer the call to public service and I look forward to the work and recommendations that will be forthcoming.
Thank you for your continuing commitment.