Transcript: SEC Chairman Chris Cox

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 4, 2005, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: If you do not know my next guest, you will. He has been sworn in now by Alan Greenspan as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, sort of the stock market's top cop. And now he joins us for his very first interview on his very first day of work. And, for that, we are indeed honored.

From Washington, Christopher Cox.

Mr. Chairman, good to have you.


CAVUTO: What's your first day like?

COX: Well, it's just a few blocks away from the Capitol, so I don't feel as if I'm lost, although it's a brand new building and a significant change for all of the thousands of employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

One of the ways I have been able to bond with all of the staff there is that we're all learning our way around together. It's a nice new facility, however, that I think will help the Securities and Exchange Commission even better discharge its mission of investor protection.

CAVUTO: Now, your predecessor, William Donaldson, was largely credited by investors with making the investment marketplace fairer to investors. You're deemed to be not as fair, that you are deemed to be more friendly to business. What's the deal?

COX: Well, as you know, I am very, very proud to follow in the footsteps of Bill Donaldson. I think he did an outstanding job for President Bush, for the SEC and for the country. He brought the commission, to be sure, but also the markets and public confidence in the markets, through some very, very difficult times.

I think he's left the country with a restored sense of confidence in the markets, and that's quite an accomplishment, given the scandals that had rocked the market just prior to his taking office.

Now, insofar as the prognosticators are concerned, asking whether Chris Cox will be business-friendly or investor-friendly, as if those two are mutually exclusive, I have suggested that perhaps some of those prognosticators are about as accurate as a WorldCom prospectus.

I have every intention of leading the Securities and Exchange Commission forward in its mission of investor protection. You know, the Department of Commerce serves business in America. And the SEC is the investors' advocate. In particular, I want to reenergize the SEC behind the mission of protecting the individual investor.

CAVUTO: You made a point of doing that with the enforcement chief today.

I guess I wonder, is your message today, sir, that those who think I'm somehow in the hip pocket of business, they're wrong?

COX: Yes. To put it as bluntly as I can. That of course, is not the mission of the SEC, but, rather, by insuring that we look out for the interests of all the participants in the marketplace, including individual investors, and put everybody on a level playing field, we can advantage all of the players in the economy, big and small.

CAVUTO: What do you think of Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general?

COX: Well, you know, I have yet to meet Mr. Spitzer, but I'm looking forward to doing so.

I think the states have a crucial role to play, just as does the federal government, in enforcing sometimes different laws that emphasize different policy priorities. The SEC's main mission, which is complementary in many respects to the missions of the states, is built around a disclosure regime.

We want to make sure there is full and fair disclosure, so that the markets have the best information possible for the participants to make decisions for individuals to determine whether they should buy and sell.

CAVUTO: But do you think that if it weren't for Mr. Spitzer's effort, that he kind of goaded the SEC to do the things that the SEC should have been doing?

COX: I think, to a substantial degree, there was a complementarity of effort between the federal government, between New York state and other states, because many other state A.G.s were also active, as they should have been, post-Enron, post-WorldCom, in the wake of all of these scandals.

What we have to look out for is that complementarity, which is a good thing, doesn't give way to competition or turf jealousy of the sort becomes counterproductive.

CAVUTO: Are you afraid of that? I mean, if there were 50 A.G.s like Mr. Spitzer, you would have a tough job on your hands.

COX: Well, I think it's just a question of balance.

There is obviously a lot of good that comes out of working together on these things, and potentially some downside if we don't work together.


Real quickly, sir, there are a lot of investors who call me, and they think the game is rigged. They don't trust the markets. Do you?

COX: Of course, in particular, the American capital markets, which are the envy of the world.

One of the reasons that there is trust and faith and integrity in our markets is that they're well policed. And that, in many respects, distinguishes us from markets around the world. We have got to make sure that America's capital markets remain the leading markets in the world and that we lead, as we have increasing globalization of securities trading, that we lead the effort to raise global standards and that we don't ever diminish our own.

CAVUTO: Mr. Chairman, a real pleasure having you. We wish you well. We know that you are going to have a busy tenure.

COX: Happy to be with you.

CAVUTO: All right, the man runs the Securities and Exchange Commission right now, joining us out of Washington, Christopher Cox.

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