House members gave Mary Schapiro, the new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, a warm welcome today at a hearing on the agency’s budget.
During the Bush administration years, SEC officials would “say, ‘We have enough,’” Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Appropriations financial services subcommittee said at the hearing. “We’d say, ‘We’re willing to give you some more.’ They were the first agency we ever met that just didn’t want more resources.”
The subcommittee will do its best to get the SEC the resources it needs to do its job, Serrano said.
Schapiro testified that she knows the SEC needs more resources and is glad to see that President Obama is requesting about $1 billion in funding for the agency in fiscal year 2010, up from $943 million this year.
Budget cuts between 2005 and 2008 caused the size of the enforcement staff to fall 10% and information technology spending to fall sharply the at a time when the number of investment advisors registered with the SEC was increasing 32%, Schapiro testified.
The SEC probably should address gaps in regulations in some areas, but, “what I think we really need is more boots on the ground,” Schapiro said.
Schapiro said the agency has only about 400 examiners to keep tabs on 11,000 registered investment advisors, meaning that many advisors know they will see an examiner only once every 10 years.