The Securities and Exchange Commission may not be the first federal agency that comes to mind when one recalls the events of September 11, but the SEC’s involvement with Lower Manhattan has always been a close one.
To mark the 10-year anniversary of the cataclysmic event, the SEC Historical Society has posted first-person accounts online from some of the key people involved with the SEC at the time, including former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt and Ed Kwalwasser, the former group executive vice president of the New York Stock Exchange. You can find their accounts within the digital museum and archives at www.sechistorical.org.
The SEC noted that 70 percent of the people killed in New York City on 9/11, excluding the emergency workers and airline passengers, worked in the financial services industry. In addition, the building at 7 World Trade Center, which housed the SEC's New York Regional Office, collapsed. Fortunately, there were no fatalities among the workers there.
To temporarily stabilize the financial markets in the aftermath of 9/11, the SEC used its emergency powers for the first time to put in place temporary rule changes that allowed issuers to buy back their own stock at the open and close of the market. Despite a temporary interruption in the wake of the devastating event, self-regulatory organizations and the private securities industry succeeded in re-opening the debt markets on Thursday, September 13, and the equity and option markets on Monday, September 17.
With New York now taking steps to prevent another terror attack on the anniversary of 9/11, it’s reassuring to know that the lessons learned from that day have not been forgotten.