Mary Schapiro: In the Eye of the Storm
Collins, Daniel P., Futures (Cedar Falls, IA)
At the beginning of2009 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) faced enormous challenges. Embarrassing revelations regarding its failure with the Bernie Madoff scandal were coming to light as the unraveling credit crisis assured that its next chairman would oversee a regulatory overhaul not seen since the Great Depression. The chairman would need vast experience and the ability to work well across the aisle and with fellow regulators. Mary Schapiro was a logical choice. She served as an SEC commissioner from 1988-1994, including a brief stint as acting chairman, before being named chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commision (CFTC) in 1994. She left the CFTC to become president of NASD Regulation in 1996, where she remained through its transition to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra), serving as its chairman and CEO until being tapped for SEC chair by President Elect Obama. We talked to Schapiro about what she has been able to accomplish over several volatile years and what important missions are on the horizon for the SEC.
FUTURES: You joined the SEC at an historic and difficult time. What has been accomplished in your tenure and what are your priorities going forward?
MARY SCHAPIRO: It was an historic and an incredibly busy time when I arrived here and it is a little hard to list the most important accomplishments because there have been many. The agency has done a pretty remarkable job of reforming the way it operates. I would point out in particular putting in place measures that have helped to prevent another flash crash from happening, implementing important reforms for money market funds after the financial crisis, assembling a pretty big team of experts to write all the rules that are mandated by Dodd-Frank and pushing those rules through the process as well as conducting a number of the studies and pursuing some of the most complex enforcement action coming out of the crisis. That is just a handful; there are a lot more.
There were a lot of things on our agenda before Dodd-Frank, some of which we have been able to accomplish, many more that we still hope to get to. On the equity side, we have further efforts to reform market structure coming out of this highly fragmented marketplace. We are anxious to go forward with a project we call "proxy plumbing." It is an in-depth investigation around how proxies are voted by shareholders.
FM: Some of the Dodd-Frank deadlines have been delayed and there is legislation that would push them back much further. How has the political pushback affected you and your staff's ability to work on the rules?
MS: We really try to ignore the politics and do what the law …
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Publication information: Article title: Mary Schapiro: In the Eye of the Storm. Contributors: Collins, Daniel P. - Author. Magazine title: Futures (Cedar Falls, IA). Volume: 40. Issue: 8 Publication date: August 2011. Page number: 18+. © 2009 Summit Business Media. COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group.
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