Schapiro Steps Down as SEC Chair after Four Years

Mary Schapiro, who took over as chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, plans to step down from the post on 14 December after nearly four years.

President Barack Obama, who appointed Schapiro shortly after taking office in January 2009, named current SEC commissioner Elisse Walter as her successor. Walter, whose promotion is subject to confirmation by the Senate, joined the SEC board in 2008 and briefly served as interim chair before Schapiro’s appointment. She previously worked at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA).

“When Mary agreed to serve nearly four years ago, she was fully aware of the difficulties facing the SEC and our economy as a whole,” said Obama said in a statement. “But she accepted the challenge, and today, the SEC is stronger and our financial system is safer and better able to serve the American people – thanks in large part to Mary’s hard work.”

Schapiro took over at the SCE when it was under pressure to repair financial markets damaged by the financial crisis and faced criticism for failing to detect the Ponzi scheme instigated by investment advisor Bernard Madoff. She also handled fallout from the programme trading that triggered a stock market ‘flash crash’ in 2010, a contentious Republican House majority and the task of implementing complex regulations mandated by Dodd-Frank. The SEC also launched a whistleblower programme to encourage and reward informants on major violations of securities laws.

Schapiro is also giving up her position as one of the five members of the agency’s commission, which oversees Wall Street and the broader financial markets. In August she abandoned attempts to reform the structure of
money market funds (MMFs)
after three commissioners indicated they would not support the proposed reforms.

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