SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt Connects at Investor Summit

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Harvey Pitt defended his integrity and scored points with investors at the Commission's first Webcast Investor Summit on May 10, 2002.

Most questions asked at the summit were well-focused on the issues of the times, including Web-based financial reporting. Some were answered by Commissioners Cynthia Glassman and Isaac Hunt or Chief Accountant Robert Herdman. For example, one email questioned the validity of disclaimers used by companies when providing access to SEC filings through links to the Web sites of EDGAR providers. Commissioner Hunt clarified, "The '33 and '34 Acts which we administer make it a violation of law if any registrants put untrue or misleading information on their Web sites. I think that perusing the official Web site of a particular company is probably the best source of accurate information."

A few questions were deliberately barbed, since the event followed a blistering editorial in the Financial Times that faulted the SEC's rule proposals for governing the accounting profession as "weak and ill-suited to deal with the problems thrown up by the Andersen debacle." The "Common Cause," a consumer advocate group, went so far as to call for Chairman Pitt's resignation.

Although lawmakers and others see the criticism as relating more to his lack of experience in politics than his ability to protect investors, Chairman Pitt stepped up the issue. He chose to read aloud an email from C.A. that said, "With full understanding of Chairman Pitt's long-term association with the current pirates of Wall Street, I would have greater confidence in the actions of SEC if there was more representation and concern for the individual stock owner. Having the industry monitor or regulate itself is not an option that will work."

To laughter from the audience at SEC's headquarters, Chairman Pitt said dryly, "I think I'll try and answer that question." His response was both serious and credible: "When I turned in my private practitioner's hat and took on the position of the chairmanship, I took on the representation of the individual stock owner. Any past association or past affiliations have absolutely nothing to do with my intent to serve public investors."

The SEC plans to post a transcript of the summit to its Web site in the near future.

-Rosemary Schlank

You may like these other stories...

A proposal issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) last week explains how fair value measurement should be defined for state and local government financial reporting.The exposure draft, Fair Value...
By Jason Bramwell The board of trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) finalized a new policy on November 19 that provides the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) with direction on what...
By Jason Bramwell The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is now offering a free online toolkit designed to assist preparers and auditors of state and local government pension plans with implementing new...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 16
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
Jul 17
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.