SPEECH TITLES AND/OR TOPICS
Economy | Finance
Arthur Levitt served as the 25th Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the regulatory agency that oversees many aspects of the stock market. First appointed by President Clinton in July 1993, the President reappointed Chairman Levitt to a second five-year term in May 1998. On September 9, 1999, he became the longest serving Chairman of the Commission. He left the Commission on February 9, 2001.
Coming from a background of 28 years on Wall Street as a broker and chairman of the American Stock Exchange, Arthur Levitt joined the SEC as the bull market of the 1990s was getting underway and would remain through the bust of the technology stock bubble, leaving the agency shortly before the accounting scandals of Enron, WorldCom, et al exploded into the public eye - just the sort of accounting deception he had fought to prevent during his years at the SEC.
During his career as head of the SEC, investor protection was Chairman Levitt's top priority. Throughout his tenure at the Commission, he worked to educate, empower, and protect America's investors.
Early in his tenure, Chairman Levitt created the Office of Investor Education and Assistance and established a website which allows the public free and easy access to corporate filings and investor education materials. In the past seven years Chairman Levitt has conducted more than forty investor town meetings throughout the country to listen to the concerns of investors and to give them tips on safe and wise participation in the securities markets.
Other hallmarks of Chairman Levitt's tenure include improving the quality of the financial reporting process, maintaining the independence of auditors, saving investors billions of dollars by reducing spreads in the Nasdaq market, promoting the use of plain English, requiring that important information be released to all investors simultaneously, fighting Internet fraud, and cleaning up the municipal bond market.
Before joining the Commission, Arthur Levitt owned Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill. From 1989 to 1993, he served as the chairperson of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and from 1978 to 1989 he was the chairperson of the American Stock Exchange (Amex). Prior to joining the Amex, Arthur Levitt worked for 16 years on Wall Street. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in 1952 before serving for two years in the Air Force.
After leaving the SEC, Arthur Levitt accepted a position as senior advisor to The Carlyle Group. He is on the board of Bloomberg LLP as well as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Arthur Levitt's book, Take on the Street, was released in October 2002 and quickly appeared on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week's bestseller lists. Take on the Street is a memoir of Arthur Levitt's years at the SEC and an argument for his philosophy of investor-friendly regulation, as well as a how-to guide for small investors.
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