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Schapiro to step down as chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission

By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times –

WASHINGTON — Mary Schapiro said Monday she will step down as chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission next month.

Schapiro, who has headed the Wall Street watchdog since 2009, had been widely expected to depart the commission after the presidential election. She announced that her last day would be Dec. 14.

“It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to work with so many dedicated SEC staff who strive every day to protect investors and ensure our markets operate with integrity,” Schapiro said in a written statement.

“Over the past four years we have brought a record number of enforcement actions, engaged in one of the busiest rulemaking periods, and gained greater authority from Congress to better fulfill our mission,” she said.

Her five-year term does not expire until January 2014, but it’s rare for chairs to serve more than four years. The SEC noted that Schapiro has served longer than 24 of the previous 28 chairs.

Schapiro, the first woman to serve as a non-interim chair of the agency, has headed the SEC during a volatile period. The SEC has grappled with the fallout from the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme.

And it has launched cases stemming from the financial crisis and has had to implement dozens of new rules from the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The SEC chairwoman also serves on the new Financial Stability Oversight Council, a panel of top regulators that monitors the financial system for threats to the broader economy.

Democratic Commissioner Elisse Walter has been mentioned as a possible successor. The New York Times reported that Mary J. Miller, assistant Treasury secretary for domestic finance, and Sallie L. Krawcheck, a former executive at Bank of America and Citigroup, also are under consideration.

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