Obama SEC pick could herald 'major shake-up'

18 December 2008

The anticipated appointment of seasoned Wall Street regulator Mary Schapiro as the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could herald a "major overhaul" of the regulator's operations, according to reports.

President-elect Barack Obama is expected to name Ms Schapiro, currently the chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, as his choice to chair the watchdog later today (December 18th), Reuters reported.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Ms Schapiro would replace Bush appointee Christopher Cox in the SEC hotseat. She has previously served as an SEC commissioner.

The move could spark a radical shake-up at the SEC after a difficult year for the regulator.

It suffered "scathing criticism" from Congress over the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros, with lawmakers blaming slack oversight for not detecting problems at the investment banks.

Earlier this week, the SEC also announced an internal investigation into its handling of the $50 billion Madoff fraud scandal after it was revealed that the organization had received "credible and specific" allegations about the Wall Street broker as far back as 1999 but failed to formally investigate them.

Ms Schapiro would take up her post when the president-elect takes office on January 20th.

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