Arthur Levitt: A Changing America
Former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission
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Arthur Levitt, Jr. is a Bloomberg Board Member and a member of the Bloomberg Board’s Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee. Levitt is an Advisory Board Member of the Knight Capital Group, a Board Member for Motif Investing and a Senior Advisor for the Promontory Financial Group. He is also an advisor to five emerging technology companies, Mirror, BitPay, Blockchain, Affirm and PeerIQ. Levitt currently serves on the advisory board for the RAND Center for Corporate Ethics and Governance, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Previously, Levitt served on the boards of TIAA-CREF, Neuberger Berman, LLC and Risk Metrics Group. Levitt was the 25th Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). First appointed by President Clinton in July 1993, the President reappointed Levitt to a second five-year term in May 1998.
In September 1999, he became the longest-serving Chairman of the SEC. He left the SEC in February 2001. Before joining the SEC, Levitt owned Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill. From 1989 to 1993, he served as the Chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and from 1978 to 1989, he was the Chairman of the American Stock Exchange. Prior to joining the American Stock Exchange, Levitt worked for 16 years on Wall Street.
Levitt graduated from Williams College in 1952, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, before serving for two years in the Air Force. His bestselling book, TAKE ON THE STREET: What Wall Street and Corporate America Don’t Want You to Know/What You Can Do to Fight Back, was published by Pantheon Books in October, 2002.
The Economic Future. Almost every day on television you will see ads that promise to clean up your credit score, give you more money, and put you in the car or house of your dreams. As amusing (or annoying) as these ads might be, they are important because the services and products that companies are offering are part and parcel of the subprime mess or credit crisis that we are seeing today. Arthur Levitt draws a direct line from places like the Mortgage Center to Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, the health of the stock market, the actions of the Federal Reserve, and the economic future of the United States and the entire world.
Trust - What it Means and How to Maintain It. As we find ourselves in an economic environment in which credit is tight, the dollar has lost much of its relative value, and confidence in our financial system has been badly shaken, consumers have curtailed their spending, and businesses are facing lower profits. Levitt references the Enron and Worldcom debacles to instill a glimmer of hope for our economic future: restoring trust. Trust, according to Levitt, is the lifeblood of our markets: You will only invest in a company if you trust the numbers they give you; you will only put your retirement in a certain mutual fund if you trust that the fund's managers are being held accountable for their decisions; and you will only lend anyone money if you trust that there is a way to enforce the terms of your loan agreement. Levitt provides reasonable, plausible solutions to curtail the financial dovetail, including regulations standardization across state boundaries, palatable disclosures, and the prohibition of predatory lending practices.
It Affects All of Us. The US economy is on the brink of--or is already in--a recession. The stock prices of the biggest banks and financial service companies are dropping. With such deep losses come layoffs, and thousands of jobs have been cut at banks and in other companies. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost by companies and investors--and the effects have been felt worldwide. Arthur Levitt discusses how this happened and what can be done about it.
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