"We would like to thank Carla L. Rosati, CFRE, the founding Executive Director of the SEC Historical Society, who conceived of the virtual museum and archive in the Society’s most critical hour, who has created the online infrastructure and has accessioned each material into the collection, and whose vision for the virtual museum continues to inspire us."
June 1, 2007 Richard Rowe, Proskauer Rose LLP and 2006-7 Vice President-Museum, Board of Trustees
Sixteen years after I joined the SEC Historical Society as its first Executive Director, and fifteen years after founding the virtual museum and archive of the history of financial regulation at www.sechistorical.org, it is time for farewell. It was my choice to remain in 2002, when ordered by the officers to leave; it is now my decision to go.
The aspirations of the founding Board of Trustees to build a sound 501(c)(3) non-profit organization have been fulfilled. I have made possible an inclusive volunteer leader corps, a diverse donor base, and professional financial reporting and disclosure. Thanks to generous contributors who have sustained the Society and the museum with gifts and grants totaling over $11 million, the Society today has savings and investments exceeding $1.4 million.
But I have done so much more, for it was my inspiration – and mine alone - to create and build the virtual museum and archive of the history of financial regulation at www.sechistorical.org. Having never served in a regulatory agency, nor worked as a practitioner, I was the only one within the Society who was able to envision and develop a museum on the regulation of the capital markets that is and will be of use and quality for all.
The virtual museum and archive has been inclusive since its founding, bringing together information and materials from those who regulate and those who are regulated. The mission of the museum has never been solely about the history of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Federal, state, municipal, international and self-regulatory organizations, as well as practitioners in law, accounting and auditing, and economics – all are welcome and have a place in www.sechistorical.org.
The quote from Louis Brandeis – "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman" – exemplifies my vision for the virtual museum and archive. The museum makes available primary information and material heretofore accessible only to a few. Its collection is a rich tapestry of knowledge, giving visitors the opportunity to read the words, see the images and hear the voices of persons from throughout the financial regulatory spectrum. All are able to draw their own findings and opinions from the materials and information presented.
Opened at the birth of the digital age, the virtual museum and archive harnesses the power of the Internet to break the boundaries of time and place, initially available on desktop computers and now on tablets and smartphones. Thanks to your support, www.sechistorical.org has always been free and accessible worldwide at all times. Today, over 3,000 visitors daily come to the museum, accessing the more than 8,300 materials currently in the collection over 6 million times annually. Their use is evidence that the museum provides a vital service of which we were not aware when it was founded.
The 2012 fair market value study of the virtual museum and archive – the only independent appraisal of the museum to date – praised the museum for providing visitors with access to authentic and relevant information and materials easily, at any time and at no cost. The study also noted that, while a significant portion of my time and responsibilities has been devoted to the building and growth of the museum, the commensurate worth of my work and vision has never been incorporated in the museum’s fair market value. The study set the museum’s value at $3.92 million in 2012; by the end of 2016, the estimated value had grown to $14.98 million.
Since its opening, the virtual museum and archive has witnessed one of the most volatile periods in financial regulation. Its collection now includes information and material on regulatory agencies and actions that did not exist in 2002. As financial regulation evolves, the resources of the museum in preserving and sharing regulation on the federal, municipal, state and international levels, along with self-regulation, will be even more vital. With the museum’s infinite virtual platform, it is my vision that www.sechistorical.org will continue to expand to serve as the preeminent source for trusted and verified information and material on the regulation of the capital markets from the 20th century into the 21st century and beyond.
The virtual museum and archive is a portal that can now never be closed. It exemplifies the best of financial regulation, providing transparency, disclosure and common ground for – in the words of William O. Douglas – "the little fellow and the big shot alike." My thanks for all that you have done over the years to ensure the lasting integrity and independence of www.sechistorical.org.
"Not many people can say that they singlehandedly built something out of nothing by relying entirely on their wits and hard work. You should be proud to count yourself among them."
January 21, 2009 Shane Ham, Osborn Maledon