The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is getting its first woman chair. President-elect Barack Obama introduced December 18 in Chicago veteran regulator Mary Schapiro, the current head of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), as chairwoman of the SEC during his Administration.
Obama called for a “a 21st century regulatory framework to ensure that a crisis like this can never happen again” in announcing the nominations of Schapiro and Gary Gensler as the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
“Financial regulatory reform will be one of the top legislative priorities of my Administration, and as a symbol of how important I view this reform, I’m announcing these appointments months earlier than previous administrations have,” Obama said.
Industry officials in Washington say the President-elect couldn’t have picked a more experienced and respected regulator. “I think she’s an excellent choice,” says Roel Campos, former SEC commissioner and a member of Obama’s economic transition team. “She brings to the agency enormous competence, knowledge of the world of regulation, a really deep understanding of the mission of the agency, which I think many in today’s discussion miss,” says Campos, who’s now partner-in-charge of Cooley Godward Kronish’s Washington, D.C. office. “The role and the importance of protecting investors seems to get lost” among these talks of systemic risk. “Mary has the focus and understands how important to the capital markets it is to protect investors.”