Mary L Schapiro, one of the longest serving SEC Chairman,
announced her resignation, effective December 14, 2012. Ms. Schapiro's action
has been long rumored. The White House immediately appointed Commissioner
Elisse Walter as Chairman, a position she can hold over the next year until the
President appoints a person to a full term.
Ms. Schapiro has served through one of the most difficult
periods in the Commission's history. Taking office in January 2009 she was
immediately faced with an agency whose one proud enforcement program, critical
to its investor protection mission, was in disarray following a series of
scandals which kicked-off with the Madoff debacle. At the same time the agency
faced the aftermath of the worst market crisis in history.
Rising to the task under Ms. Schapiro's leadership, the
Commission initiated the largest reorganization of the enforcement program in
the history of the agency. Following the passage of the ground breaking
Dodd-Frank legislation, she led the Commission through an unprecedented period
of rule writing to implement legislation which is designed to completely
rewrite the rules governing the financial markets.
Critical achievements under Ms. Schapiro's tutelage
No doubt Ms. Schapiro has compiled an enviable record as
Chairman. Still her successor will be faced with a daunting array of issues.
The enforcement program is still a work in progress. Rule writing under
Dodd-Frank is an on-going and challenging process. And, there are a series of
other challenges ranging from high speed trading to the municipal markets and
money market funds which must be addressed. Nevertheless, Ms. Schapiro has
moved the agency forward in an effective, positive and constructive manner
which gives her a proud legacy as Chairman.
Hurricane Sandy: During
this holiday season please remember the victims of Sandy's destruction by
donating to the Red Cross (here).
For more cutting edge commentary on
developing securities issues, visit SEC Actions, a
blog by Thomas Gorman.
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