SEC Chair Schapiro Announces Resignation

SEC Chair Schapiro Announces Resignation

Mary Schapiro, chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, resigned on Monday and will be replaced in the interim by Elise Walter. Walker is a Democrat who was appointed by George W. Bush.

Sources told the Wall Street Journal that the White House “intends to nominate a permanent successor before Ms. Walter’s tenure as commissioner expires at the end of next year” and some of the top contenders include Mary John Miller, a top Treasury Department official, along with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Chairman Richard G. Ketchum, former commissioner Harvey Goldschmid and William J. Brodsky, the chairman and CEO of the Chicago Board Options Exchange. 

Schapiro, who will step down on December 14, was confirmed in January of 2009 after the financial meltdown forced the government to bailout many banks that were “too big to fail.” Many have said she presided over a “tumultuous” time at the SEC in which public confidence in the institution was at an all-time low. 

President Barack Obama said Schapiro “was fully aware of the difficulties facing the SEC and our economy as a whole,” but “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.”

According to the Journal, Schapiro’s biggest failure may have been her inability to deal with Wall Street’s “rapid-trading” glitches that impacted stocks like Facebook on NASDAQ. Schapiro had been an expert in this field prior to coming to the SEC. 

Schapiro was also criticized for not doing enough when an SEC employee disclosed to her that her family members had invested with disgraced investor Bernie Madoff.

Walter, the meantime, will have to deal with with the Dodd-Frank legislation. Republicans want to rollback many aspects of the law they say hurts small banks while Democrats want to strengthen the law.