In one of the larger departures since this year’s election, the Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) Chairman Mary Schapiro will step down this December. Schapiro has a long history with SEC dating back as early as 1988, coming and going, with her most recent post as Chairman beginning in early 2009 by President Obama’s appointment. Since then she has been involved in overseeing massive overhauls to address weakness that contributed to the financial crisis, establishing new financial regulation laws, and taking more than 1400 enforcement actions in the last two fiscal years alone.
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President Obama has tapped Elisse Walter to fill the void Schapiro will leave. Walter will be able to serve as Chairman through 2013 before requiring Senate consent. Before Walter’s position in the SEC, she worked in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which had also been led by Schapiro before she moved to the SEC. With a history of following in Schapiro’s footsteps, it is possible Walter will continue at the SEC with the same rigor for which President Obama has praised Schapiro.
In Schapiro’s short time with the SEC, they have managed to settle civil fraud suits with many large financial institutions — including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase — for hundreds of millions of dollars, they have implemented numerous regulation policies to help prevent future crises, and they even developed rules that put executive compensation packages to a vote. These are rather large advances in the regulation and will leave Walter with a strong system to take charge of.