Obama names Elisse Walter as new SEC chief

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Elisse B. Walter was named by President Barack Obama Monday as the new head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a position currently filled by outgoing Chairman Mary L. Schapiro.

Walter’s appointment came following Schapiro, who headed the agency in the runup to the Great Recession, announced her resignation on Monday. Shapiro officially steps down from office on Dec. 14.

Walter, who now serves as a SEC Commissioner, was the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s senior executive vice president.

She briefly served as interim chairwoman in January 2009 after former Chairman Christopher Cox left office.

Under Schapiro’s administration, the SEC took many significant changes in strengthening its oversight of the financial markets by launching major enforcement actions. The SEC issued 734 actions in the 2011 fiscal year, and another 734 in fiscal year 2012.

Schapiro sought to make investors understand that money market funds are not interest-bearing accounts, but rather they are mutual funds that are not guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as offered by commercial bank deposits.

Obama’s appointment of Walter came as a slight surprise to many as it had been expected that former T. Rowe Price director of fixed income Mary John Miller will be named as new SEC head. Miller currently works at the Treasury Department as undersecretary for domestic finance.

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