SEC Chair Shapiro to step down Dec. 14

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Mary Schapiro, who took the reins of the Securities and Exchange Commission amidst the financial crisis, has announced she will step down as SEC chairman on Dec. 14.

In a Nov. 26 statement, Schapiro said that her tenure was one of the busiest rulemaking periods for the agency and it brought more enforcement actions in each of the past two years, 734 in fiscal 2012 and 735 in fiscal 2011, than ever before.

Schapiro previously refused to answer questions about her departure, but the New York Times reports that she told staff members for more than a year that she was exhausted and wanted to resign after the November elections.

The White House says President Obama has designated Commissioner Elisse Walter as chair when Schapiro leaves. The appointment of Walter will not require congressional approval since she was previously confirmed as a commissioner.

Schapiro was sworn in as chairman in Jan. 2009, as the SEC was dealing with fallout from its oversight of brokerage firms, the beginning of the financial crisis and exposed Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff, which was only weeks old at that point.

Schapiro's accomplishments include a streamlined process to launch investigations, returning $6 billion to harmed investors over her tenure, the prosecution of the largest insider trading scheme in SEC history, adopting more than 75 percent of the rules required by the Dodd-Frank Act and developed the SEC's first centralized database for complaints.

Likely the most prominent case under Schapiro's belt is the 2010 SEC suit against Goldman Sachs Group that accused it of fraud in the sale of mortgage securities with ties to the hedge fund Paulson & Co. Goldman paid a record fine of $550 million.

Schapiro has served longer than 24 of the prior 28 chairs, says the SEC, and she was also the first woman to serve as a non-interim chair of the agency.

For more:
- read Schapiro's announcement

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