Schapiro Leaves CFTC

By Nusbaum, David | Modern Trader, February 1996 | Go to article overview

Schapiro Leaves CFTC


Nusbaum, David, Modern Trader


It was a short stay at the top for CFTC Chairman Mary Schapiro, who left the agency in late January after just 15 months in office, leaving the futures industry with a choice of unknown quantities for chief regulator.

Schapiro will head the National Association of Securities Dealers' new regulatory arm. "I'm leaving the CFTC sooner than I wanted to," she says. "The NASD presented a unique opportunity to stay in Washington, not practice law in the strict sense, and be involved in the private sector with regulation - something I care very much about. It's a job that's there now and won't be in a year or two."

The NASD post represents greener pastures, that is, a big raise, but Schapiro says money wasn't an issue. "It will be nice to earn more money than I ever earned in government, but that's not the reason," she says, adding that the timing of the move has nothing to do with talk of merging the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). "It's been proposed virtually every year and there's never been any real political momentum behind it," she says.

Schapiro's move may set off a round of musical chairs in understaffed Washington. The CFTC will have two vacancies at the commissioner level; the SEC has three openings and, if Commissioner Steve Wallman leaves, will be left with only its chairman (SEC nominee attorney Norman Johnson had been confirmed as of early January).

All the vacancies have more to do with the political process than the desirability of the jobs themselves. The "sadly depleted condition," Schapiro says, "is a commentary of how difficult it is to get through the process in government these days with a Democratic White House and Republican Congress. …

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