University of Chicago
April 22, 1995
do you mean they won't let us? We'll make them let us!"
words epitomize my memory of Lee A. Freeman.
was but a child on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Futures markets, that arcane world of business, had been an agricultural
domain for a thousand years. We embarked on a journey never before
attempted: To turn an agricultural history into a financial destiny.
Futures markets in finance, a brazen, bold, daring, innovative,
perhaps even foolhardy concept. Would the world understand? Would
the world accept it? Would it work?
were on a journey which had never been made. There were no guideposts,
there were no traffic signals. No one knew the answers. No one
knew the turns to take. No one had the rules.
Freeman never hesitated. Never doubted my youth; never doubted
the untested wisdom of the idea.
course we could do it. Of course it will work. As always, he
was strong, self-assured, confidence-bestowing, tenacious, resourceful,
could not have a better friend__one could not have
a stronger ally__one could not have a more qualified
attorney. Lee Freeman was all that to me! And he was all that
to me at a historical juncture that could not have done with
a lesser mortal. Together we changed history.
one looks at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange today, its success,
its power, its vibrancy, the amount of business it represents__to
Chicago, to the nation, to the world__it is hard to
imagine that this was not always so.
one looks at the futures industry today, its volume of transactions,
its financial exchanges in London, Paris, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong
Kong, Sydney, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina, Dublin, Frankfurt,
yes, and even Russia and China__to name just a few__it
is hard to imagine that this was not always so.
yet it wasn't always so. Indeed, the revolution that changed
the way the world manages its financial risk is but 23 years
in 1972, Lee Freeman stood at my side when few others had the
courage or vision to believe that the revolution we were initiating
would become what Nobel Laureate, Merton H. Miller, PhD., Professor
of Banking and Finance, University of Chicago, named as "the
most significant financial innovation of the last twenty years."
in 1972, Lee Freeman never left my side as we faced yet another
insurmountable hurdle, another hopeless dilemma, another terrifying
roadblock in the impossible dream we had undertaken. "What do
you mean they won't let us? We'll make them let us!"
called me a Don Quixote. If I were Don Quixote than I could not
have chosen a better Sancho Panza, than Lee Freeman as we encountered
the giant windmills of an unwilling establishment, an antagonistic
financial world, a hostile legal environment, a cynical government,
a intransigent local community.
rose to all occasions! He shrank from no danger! He ran from
no challenge! Tenacity was his middle name, perseverance was
his ancestry, determination was his legal oath, loyalty was his
Freeman held my hand at a moment in history which changed the
financial world forever.
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