Rep. Frank Speaks to SEC Employees; Announces New Retirement Match Increase Legislation


10/9/07: Rep. Barney Frank (D. Mass.) spoke to SEC employees this afternoon at the invitation of Chapter 293. He appeared at the Boston Regional Office and his remarks were video-conferenced to all of the SEC’s offices. Congressman Frank, shown here with Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman, is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees, among other things, the SEC and other entities, such as the NYSE and the NASD, which police the securities markets.

Of particular interest to SEC employees was Rep. Frank's announcement at the beginning of his speech that new legislation would soon be introduced in Congress to raise the current five percent cap on the SEC's matching contributions to employee TSP accounts. This important legislation will be the first step towards significantly increasing the retirement benefits of SEC employees.

The Congressman noted that Chapter 293 informed him of the need for such legislation earlier this year -- and also let him know that the SEC was not taking the steps necessary to honor its commitment to increase employee retirement benefits. He responded by raising the issue directly with SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, and the agency is now cooperating with NTEU's efforts to pass the necessary legislation. Rep. Frank stated that he firmly believes that this legislation is required to help maintain the agency's competitiveness vis a vis the private sector in attracting and retaining high quality employees to do the important work of the SEC.

Congressman Frank also spoke on a broad range of policy issues of interest to SEC employees. He talked about his perception that, during the past twelve months, there has been dramatic change in how Washington and the rest of the country view regulation. He noted that the prevailing view used to be that regulatory requirements were driving companies overseas but now, with the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, people are coming to a better understanding of the need for regulation. He noted that increased innovative activities in the financial markets frequently benefit society, but also pose dangers that require sufficient regulatory oversight by agencies such as the SEC. He also expressed his concerns about highly leveraged pools of unregulated capital in the markets, such as in hedge funds, and their potential impact upon the economy.

Rep. Frank's visit was well received by the large number of SEC employees in agency offices across the country who attended via video-conference.