New SEC Chair Stakes Out Her Territory

Schapiro moving decisively to overhaul troubled agency
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2009 10:23 AM CDT
Mary Schapiro listens as President-elect Barack Obama introduces her as his designate for Securities and Exchange Commission chairman during a news conference in Chicago, Dec. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – As soon as she took over the SEC, Mary Schapiro started making changes. She scrapped rules that had hindered investigators, hired a new enforcement director, and refocused regulators on high-profile financial crisis-related cases. “I wanted to be clear from my first day—not just with words, which are pretty easy to string together, but with actions—that this is a new SEC,” she told the Washington Post.

Pressure for change has been intense at the SEC, which still has major pie on its face for failing to catch Bernard Madoff. Perhaps the biggest potential stumbling blocks are the Fed and the Treasury Department, which are challenging the SEC’s authority. Timothy Geithner has argued against many of Schapiro’s proposals, and even called for reducing the SEC’s role in consumer products like mutual funds.