Obama SEC pick promises regulatory overhaul

16 January 2009

Mary Schapiro, the candidate picked by president-elect Barack Obama to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, had pledged to lead a wide-ranging overhaul of US market regulation, warning there would be "no sacred cows" on Wall Street under her administration.

Speaking at her confirmation hearing before the Senate banking committee, Ms Schapiro indicated that she would tighten up the oversight of investment advisers and brokerages, pursue new legislation for scrutinizing auditors and introduce a plan to register hedge funds, the Washington Post reports.

The current head of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) also said she would consider placing limits on short selling and would unleash the SEC's enforcement division "with full force and fervor against anyone who violates investors' trust".

Non-partisan group the Project on Government Oversight said the committee had failed to question Ms Schapiro over Finra's performance under her leadership, adding she "deeply invested" in a regulatory system partly culpable for the current crisis.

Ms Schapiro told the Post she has "never been afraid" to pursue those suspected of violating public trust.

The SEC is currently conducting an internal investigation into its failure to detect the alleged $50 billion fraud conducted by Bernard Madoff.

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