President Obama on Monday selected Elisse Walter, an SEC commissioner, to succeed SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro after she departs on Dec. 14, but industry officials speculated that Walter will serve as an acting chairman until Obama selects a permanent chairman.
As widely anticipated, Schapiro, 57, announced Monday morning that she would depart from the agency next month. She had more than a year on her term left to run the SEC. Walter has served as acting chairman before, in late 2008 until Schapiro was nominated in January 2009.
Walter said in a statement issued late Monday that “Words cannot adequately express what an exceptional job my friend and colleague Mary has done for this great agency and the public we serve. I am deeply honored and humbled to be the SEC’s next Chairman and to continue to serve alongside the talented and dedicated SEC Commissioners and staff who work tirelessly on behalf of America’s investors.”
An SEC spokesperson told AdvisorOne that Walter (right) will be the “permanent” replacement for Schapiro. However, David Tittsworth, executive director of the Investment Adviser Association in Washington, says that Obama’s announcement on Monday that Walter would succeed Schapiro could indeed mean that Walter will be the “long-term chair,” but he believes it’s “more likely that Obama will nominate someone else.”
While Walter had been rumored to take over the reins from Schapiro, other potential permanent replacements that have surfaced include Mary John Miller, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for Domestic Finance, who is rumored to be the top candidate. Richard Ketchum, CEO of FINRA, is also rumored to be interested in throwing his hat into the ring, as is Sallie Krawcheck, the former Bank of America and Citigroup executive.
Dan Barry, managing director of government relations and public policy for the Financial Planning Association, points to Obama’s term that he was “pleased to designate” Walter as SEC chairman after Schapiro’s departure. “I wonder about the term ‘designate’ as opposed to ‘nominate,’” Barry says.
However, former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt told AdvisorOne that Walter could serve as chairman until the end of 2013, so “there’s no rush” to find a permanent replacement for Schapiro.