In this century, the U.S. equity markets have been so transformed by technology, regulation, and corporate structure change that market participants, regulators, and academicians have hardly been able to stay ahead of the thundering herd. Our markets today are fast-are they too fast? They are competitive - are they too competitive? Has market quality improved - or not? These are among the issues that this year's conference will consider. In so doing, the overarching goal will be to focus on proposals for strengthening the markets.