SIPC NAMES STEPHEN P. HARBECK NEW PRESIDENT AND CEO
WASHINGTON, D.C. - December 1, 2003 - The board of directors of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which maintains a special reserve fund to help investors at bankrupt brokerage firms, announced today that 28-year veteran Stephen P. Harbeck is the new president and CEO of the congressionally chartered organization.
Harbeck joined the legal staff of SIPC in 1975 and was promoted to general counsel in 1995. He now is stepping into the position formerly held by Michael Don, who served as SIPC president from 1995-2003 and retired in November of this year.
SIPC Board Chairman William R. Timken, Jr., who also serves as chairman of the board of The Timken Company, said: "Steve Harbeck will be a great leader as SIPC responds to the substantial changes in the U.S. capital markets. The Board expects him to further enhance SIPC's working relationship with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Congress, the self-regulatory organizations (SROs) and the state regulatory agencies. He has been directly responsible for ensuring that American investors understand the role of SIPC, and will oversee our expanded efforts in this vital area. SIPC will continue to contribute to the process of rebuilding equity investor confidence."
"I am honored by the Board's decision and I am particularly mindful of the Board's mandate to me that SIPC further boost its investor education efforts," Harbeck said. "Time and again, SIPC has seen instances where investors have failed to notice obvious signs of trouble, leading to severe losses."
The new SIPC president and CEO added: "When SIPC was founded in 1970, Congress stated that one of the primary purposes of the legislation was to restore investor confidence in the markets. One way for SIPC to help restore damaged confidence in today's securities markets is to play a role in and help to bring about expanded industry wide investor education initiatives with the SEC, SROs and the North American Securities Administrators Association. I am committed to making that happen."
During his tenure at SIPC, Harbeck has served as adjunct professor of bankruptcy law at American University's Washington College of Law. He also has written a number of law review articles on bankruptcy. Originally from New York, Harbeck received his B.A. in economics from the College of the Holy Cross, and his J.D. from Cornell University Law School. He is a member of the New York State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar. Harbeck is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States as well as various United States Courts of Appeals.
From its creation by Congress in 1970 through December 2001, SIPC has advanced $513 million in order to make possible the recovery of $14.0 billion in assets for an estimated 622,000 investors. SIPC estimates that more than 99 percent of eligible investors have been made whole in the failed brokerage firm cases that it has handled to date.
SIPC is an important part of the overall system of investor protection in the United States. While a number of federal, self-regulatory and state securities agencies deal with cases of investment fraud, SIPC's focus is both different and narrow: Restoring funds to investors with assets in the hands of bankrupt and otherwise financially troubled brokerage firms. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation was not chartered by Congress to combat fraud.
SIPC either acts as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee in a fraud case to recover funds. The statute that created SIPC rules provides that customers of a failed brokerage firm receive all non-negotiable securities that are already registered in their names or in the process of being registered. At the same time, funds from the SIPC reserve are available to satisfy the remaining claims of each customer up to a maximum of $500,000. This figure includes a maximum of $100,000 on claims for cash.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Ailis Aaron, The Hastings Group, (703) 276-1116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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