Christopher Cox, the newly appointed chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, addressed the agency's staff for the first time Thursday, reminding them that "other people's money" is what the SEC is all about.

Standing behind investors' interests is the key mission of the SEC, he said.

"It's got to be in the DNA of every office and every division," Cox said. "Every last one of us."

Addressing speculation as to whether Cox would lean towards being business friendly or investor friendly, Cox answered: "Ladies and gentlemen, the Department of Commerce serves our country's businesses. We are the investors' advocate."

The SEC will be friendly to any business that is investor friendly, but "anyone who attempts to drive a wedge between the interests of their business and interests of investors in that business will find themselves confronted by a relentless and powerful adversary in the Securities and Exchange Commission."

Cox pointed out that investors actually own the businesses, so the interests of investors and companies should naturally be aligned. However, it is the SEC's job to worry about the companies that don't understand that philosophy.

Having understandable rules is as important as having readable prospectuses, so Cox pledged to improve how the SEC crafts its rulemaking to make it more accessible to retail investors and those operating without the advantage of hired lawyers and professional analysts.

Cox thanked the staff for the opportunity to join them in the "mission of protecting America 's financial markets." He concluded the speech with the exclamation, "Let's roll," the call to action made famous after Sept. 11, 2001 by Todd Beamer, the passenger on the United Airlines flight that crashed in Pennsylvania .

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