Obama To Announce Choice For SEC Chairman

President-elect Barack Obama is set to announce that he will nominate Mary Schapiro as the new Chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the New York Times (here, registration required). Ms. Schapiro, who will be the first permanent chairwoman of the SEC, is currently the head of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). Previously, she has served as the Chairwoman of the CFTC and as an SEC Commissioner.

Ms. Schapiro, if confirmed by the Senate, will take over as head of the SEC at a critical time in its history. Yesterday, Chairman Cox issued a statement noting that the staff had failed to properly investigate allegations regarding possible fraud by Bernard Madoff as early as 1999. At the same time, the Chairman launched an internal investigation to determine what happened. This revelation came amid growing criticism about the role of the SEC as Wall Street’s top cop. Many claim that the once fierce watch dog has become a toothless, sleeping hound. Ms. Schapiro will be charged with re-energizing the once proud agency and restoring its enforcement program to its essential role of top cop on the beat of Wall Street.