2009 Annual Dinner Celebrates SEC’s 75th Anniversary
Richard G. Ketchum Honored with William O. Douglas Award
The Seventeenth Annual ASECA Dinner and celebration of the SEC’s 75th Anniversary was the best attended and largest to date. More than 800 SEC alumni, practitioners, and industry officials, including more than 75 SEC commissioners, division directors and senior staff, gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on Friday, February 6, 2009. The dinner was held in conjunction with the annual PLI program, “SEC Speaks.”
The evening began with opening remarks by ASECA President John Hartigan, followed by a group picture of all in attendance.
Special programming to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of the SEC in 1934 began with an interview of former Commissioner Irving Pollack, first winner of the William O. Douglas Award in 1992. Mr. Pollack’s remarks about the history and spirit of the SEC through the years were truly inspiring. He also gave a toast to the continued success of the SEC on its 75th Anniversary, as he had done at the 40th Anniversary celebration.
Dinner attendees were honored with remarks by both former Chairman Christopher Cox and Chairman Mary L. Schapiro, who had been sworn in the week before the dinner. Chairman Schapiro was the recipient of the William O. Douglas Award in 2008. She praised ASECA’s scholarship programs and congratulated the winners who were in attendance. A total of $63,000 in scholarships and writing competition prizes was awarded this year to law students and members of the SEC staff.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the William O. Douglas Award to Richard G. Ketchum. The Douglas Award, instituted by ASECA in 1992, is given each year to an SEC alumnus who has contributed to the development of the federal securities laws or has served the financial and SEC community with distinction. At the time of the dinner, Mr. Ketchum served as CEO, NYSE Regulation, and Chairman of the Regulatory Committee of the World Federation of Exchanges. In March 2009, he was named Chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), replacing Mary Schapiro who had been appointed as SEC Chairman.
Mr. Ketchum has had a distinguished career in the securities industry, principally in the public sector. In 1977, he joined the SEC and worked there for 14 years, including eight as Director of the Division of Market Regulation. He provided leadership in establishing the National Market System through his work on the creation of the Firm Quote Rule, trade reporting requirements for NASDAQ securities, and other market structure issues. Mr. Ketchum was an author of the SEC’s Special Study of the Options Markets and an important participant in implementing the Shad-Johnson Accord that developed standards for the approval and oversight of new options and futures securities products.
After the October 1987 stock market crash, Mr. Ketchum led a study that resulted in the adoption of system-wide circuit breakers and steps to make clearance systems more resilient. His leadership after the failure of Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1989—until recently the largest failure of an investment bank in U.S. history—resulted in legislation that gave the Commission its first reporting authority with respect to the activities of the holding companies of broker-dealers.
In 1991, Mr. Ketchum joined the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) as Chief Operating Officer. He was appointed President of NASD in 1998. Two years later, he became President of NASDAQ. In June 2003, Mr. Ketchum was selected as General Counsel of the Corporate and Investment Bank of Citigroup Inc., and a member of the unit’s planning group, Business Practices Committee, and Risk Management Committee. He became New York Stock Exchange’s first Chief Regulatory Officer in 2004 and later CEO of NYSE Regulation.
Mr. Ketchum was introduced by former SEC Chairman and previous William O. Douglas Award winner (2007) David S. Ruder, one of the three SEC Chairmen under whom Mr. Ketchum served as Director of the Division of Market Regulation. Professor Ruder reflected on Mr. Ketchum’s personal qualities of friendliness, intelligence, persuasiveness, and organizational abilities. He described his reliance on Mr. Ketchum’s guidance and advice following the 1987 market crash, commenting that many of the same issues are reflected in the markets in 2009.
In his remarks, Mr. Ketchum spoke about the remarkable leadership at the SEC through the years. He praised the knowledge, skill, and collegiality of the SEC staff. And he expressed confidence that, under the leadership of Chairman Mary Schapiro, the SEC will meet the challenges of the times but will never lose sight of an unwavering commitment to investor protection. For the complete text of Mr. Ketchum’s speech click here.
The evening ended with an after-dinner reception which provided those attending the chance for additional socializing.