SEC leader to follow Mary Schapiro's lead

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WASHINGTON -- The leadership of the Securities and Exchange Commission will change next month. Its approach to regulation probably won't.

Mary Schapiro will step down as chairwoman after a tumultuous tenure in which she helped lead the government's regulatory response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Replacing her will be Elisse Walter, one of five SEC commissioners, whose career path has tracked Schapiro's for nearly three decades.

Walter has served under Schapiro at both the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry's self-policing organization. Both women worked at the SEC in the 1980s. Walter was also general counsel of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission when Schapiro led that agency in the mid-1990s.

She's expected to follow the approach Schapiro took at the SEC over nearly four years. President Barack Obama on Monday announced his choice of Walter, who will take over at a critical time for the SEC, which is seeking stricter rules for money-market mutual funds and must get into shape the so-called Volcker Rule, which would bar banks from making certain trades for their own profit. The agency is also pursuing enforcement actions against banks over their sales of risky mortgage securities before the housing bust.

Obama can fill the SEC chairman's job without Senate approval because Walter has already been confirmed through 2013. That means Obama can avoid a potential confirmation fight until after the White House and Congress address the tax increases and spending cuts set to kick in next year.


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