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Sprightly at Ninety: Remarks at the SEC’s 90th Anniversary Celebration

Washington D.C.

June 6, 2024

Welcome to the SEC’s 90th Anniversary Celebration.[1] It is an honor to regulate the best capital markets in the world. We have protected countless investors, facilitated the capital flows needed to support a robust economy, held bad actors accountable, and promoted market integrity. In our ninety years, our nation has weathered recessions, financial crises, and attacks on our liberty. Throughout those dark times, the SEC has played a critical role in helping restore our markets and investor confidence.

Milestone anniversaries are a good time to recommit ourselves to working hard and reflect on what we can do better. We should follow the lead of a ninety-year-old friend of mine. His mind is sharp as a tack. He is wise and still studying and learning every day. His posture is straight as an arrow. He spends an hour a day on cardio to the dismay of his much younger gym friends. He strives to live better each day than he did the last.

How can the SEC exhibit similar vivacity at ninety? We can stop fearing market dynamics, competition, technology, and innovation. We can be as willing to acknowledge regulatory failures as we are to identify market failures. We can stick to our statutory mandates: protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation. We can resist the temptation to regulate outside our statutory boundaries. We can treasure our staff of dedicated, hard-working, specialized, and knowledgeable public servants by empowering them to think through difficult legal questions about the application of securities laws to new circumstances. We can stop using our very important enforcement tool as a substitute for considered regulation. We can savor the wonder of the capital markets’ power to transform people’s lives and build a prosperous economy. We can recommit ourselves to good administrative process in our rulemakings, our exams, and our enforcement actions. We can frequently, seriously, and diligently seek input from investors, industry, and other interested parties. We can embrace a culture of humility, intellectual curiosity, and respect for divergent views. We can remember how immensely privileged we are to serve the American people.

I look forward, in the short term, to the panels ahead, in the medium term, to continuing to work with wonderful colleagues on the interesting challenge of regulating the capital markets, and, in the long-term, to a 100-year celebration in which I hope that we will be an even better regulator than we are at ninety.

Thank you.

[1] My views are my own as a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission and not necessarily those of the Commission or my fellow Commissioners.

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