WASHINGTON -- J. Carter Beese Jr., a principal at Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. of Baltimore, testified before a Senate panel yesterday, moving one step closer to likely confirmation as a commissioner on the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The 36-year-old Mr. Beese is viewed as a non-controversial candidate whose confirmation to the empty fifth seat of the SEC leadership is probably assured. It is practically unheard of for an SEC nominee not to be confirmed.
Mr. Beese has worked at Alex. Brown -- the nation's oldest and one of its most prestigious securities firms -- since graduating from Rollins College in 1978.
He was nominated by President Bush in October, but the confirmation was delayed by scheduling problems in the Senate.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., introduced Mr. Beese to the Senate Banking Committee. Ms. Mikulski said she knows Mr. Beese's parents through their involvement in Catholic schools and that she was certain Mr. Beese would bring "old-fashioned, mainstream values" to the job.
If confirmed, Mr. Beese said, he intends to "follow the strong tradition [of the SEC] of enforcing securities laws." He said he supports a "strong" and "independent" agency that does "nothing to compromise its service to individual investors."
Mr. Beese also is director of the federal Overseas Private Investment Corp. and is a member of the Department of Commerce's District Export Council for the Maryland/Washington region.
He has been a member of the SEC's Emerging Market Advisory Committee and the U.S. Financing Technology Committee.
He has also been active in the Republican Party, serving on campaign finance committees for President Bush, Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-2nd, and the Maryland GOP.
According to a financial disclosure form filed in October, Mr. Beese's combined salary in 1990 and in the first ten months of 1991 was $476,335. As an SEC commissioner, he will earn $112,100 annually.
Some members of the committee questioned Mr. Beese about possible conflicts of interest with companies in which he has investments or with which he has done business through Alex. Brown.
"I will divest anything, forgo anything, to become a commissioner of the SEC," Mr. Beese said at the hearing. In his application for the position, Mr. Beese listed 52 firms presenting potential conflicts of interest. He said that he will recuse himself "from all matters involving any . . . former clients."
Mr. Beese also has begun divesting of his numerous personal investments, most of which are in mutual funds, insurance companies, and limited partnerships.
A government official involved in the confirmation process who asked not to be identified said that Mr. Beese "probably was more involved" with companies that could potentially present a conflict of interest than most other SEC nominees, but his situation "certainly is not unprecedented."