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The actions by certain Wall Street firms to use stock research to mislead investors can not be condoned. Our public markets need faith and confidence that the system is fair. Last year, as allegations of biased stock research and abuses in the initial public offering markets were hitting the headlines we took action in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to require new rules to cover the way research is conducted and used. It is my understanding that these rules should be finalized within the next couple of months.

The Global Settlement before us today sends another message that Wall Street can not treat ethical lapses and lax supervision as everyday behavior. These firms have a moral obligation to treat investors fairly and honestly.

It also sends a message that we need to be more vigilant in the future to identify and stop practices like these before they have a chance to become accepted or tolerated worldwide.

Recently, I introduced legislation with Senator Shelby to streamline the hiring process for certain key employment positions in the SEC to assist in enforcement efforts on the oversight of publicly traded companies and the securities markets. I hope that we can move this legislation forward so that the SEC can be fully staffed to prevent future events such as those that lead up to the Global Settlement.

I look forward to hearing the testimony from our distinguished panel.