While members of Congress praised SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro July 14 for acting quickly to institute changes at the beleaguered agency, particularly since the Bernard Madoff scandal broke, lawmakers said more work needs to be done at the SEC to protect investors.
The SEC “must continue to take bold and assertive action as it moves forward to bring enforcement actions against wrongdoers and to rewrite the rules governing the industry to better protect investors,” Paul Kanjorski (D-Pennsylvania), chairman of the House Financial Services Capital Markets Subcommittee, said during his opening remarks at the July 14 hearing he held to assess the current state of the SEC and its agenda.
Indeed, Schapiro told members of the subcommittee that since her six months on board at the agency, SEC staff has moved with a sense of urgency to institute changes designed to protect investors and promote investor confidence. Schapiro listed the changes the SEC is taking, including:
o working to fill regulatory gaps exposed by the economic crisis;
o seeking to strengthen standards governing broker/dealers and investment advisors;
o enhancing disclosure provided to investors;
o streamlining enforcement procedures and focusing on cases that will have the greatest impact;
o revamping the system for handling the approximately one million tips and complaints the Commission receives annually;
o improving the SEC’s risk assessment capabilities;