Texas A&M Bush School To Host Former SEC Official For Financial Crises Program

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The Hon. Richard C. Breeden, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and former assistant to former President George H. W. Bush for issues analysis, will speak at Texas A&M University in a discussion titled “Restoring Trust: Financial Crises and Regulatory Responses in the Bush Era and Beyond.”

The talk, which will also feature a conversation with Donald E. Powell, former chairman of the FDIC, will be on Thursday, March 3, at 5:30pm at the George Bush Presidential Library, preceded by a reception at 5pm.

The evening’s discussion is a part of the “Conversations in Public Policy” series by the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics, and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.

During the event, Chairman Breeden will share his experience working with President George H.W. Bush in handling a wide variety of complex issues involving U.S. financial and capital markets. As assistant to the president in 1989, Chairman Breeden led White House efforts to confront and ultimately defuse the S&L Crisis. The evening’s discussion will examine how those regulatory choices remain highly relevant to U.S. capital markets today.

Following President Bush’s inauguration, Breeden became assistant to the president for issues analysis, focusing on long-run domestic and economic policy issues. In particular, Breeden led the White House effort to end the financial crisis in the U.S. Savings and Loan industry, which was imperiling over $1 trillion in deposits of more than 110 million Americans. Only three weeks into his term in office, President Bush announced an aggressive program using $500 billion in bonds to finance the closing of hundreds of insolvent firms, while protecting their depositors and making a wide variety of corrective regulatory changes. The president’s program also created the Resolution Trust Corporation, which helped sell the assets of failed firms back into private ownership to repay the program’s costs. The president’s leadership won strong bipartisan support, and the program swiftly ended decades of instability.

In late 1989, President Bush nominated Breeden to lead the SEC. Under Chairman Breeden’s leadership, the SEC overhauled its rules so that large and small companies could raise capital with fewer barriers and lower expense. It also worked to promote investor interests through many initiatives, such as better accounting and disclosure standards, access to new types of mutual funds and investment products, and improved proxy rules. While he reinvigorated the SEC’s efforts to fight fraud through greater resources and stiffer penalties, Chairman Breeden also supported many initiatives to lower barriers to innovation and competition and to use market mechanisms in place of regulation wherever possible.

Powell served a member of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents for six years, including two terms as its chairman.

This event is offered free of charge, but reservations are strongly recommended by Wednesday, March 2. For more information and to register, go to http://bush.tamu.edu/mosbacher/events/breeden/.