SEC's Schapiro Announces Initiatives; Becker Returns to SEC

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In her first public address at the helm of the SEC – presented at PLI’s SEC Speaks conference earlier today – SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro said, “In the days ahead, we will rise to the new challenges of today's financial and regulatory realities, both by embracing new approaches and by maintaining the great traditions that have defined this institution throughout its history.”

She added, “The challenges we face are historic. But they're not insurmountable. It will take determination, hard work, toughness, and above all, an unrelenting will to stand up for investors.”

“But make no mistake,” Shapiro stated. “Regulation is a two-way street. The ‘regulated’ need not wait for a regulator's reforms, though they will come.”

Proxy Access, Say on Pay
Describing her vision that “A strong and reinvigorated SEC will be on the beat like never before,” she added, “there needs to be a new era of responsibility on Wall Street and throughout our markets to ensure that wrongs don't occur in the first place.”

Indicating she will not shy away from certain hot button issues that have plagued prior Chairmen, Schapiro said, “There is much we can do to accelerate that process, including giving shareholders a greater say on who serves on corporate boards, and how company executives are paid.”

Strengthening Enforcement, Investor Advocacy
Schapiro outlined a number of initiatives to strengthen the SEC's enforcement function, including removing the 'penalty pilot' established under former Chairman Christopher Cox in which enforcement staff needed to obtain Commission approval before entering into certain settlement negotiations. She also called for the formation of an Investor Advisory Committee. Read more highlights from her speech here.

In other news, David M. Becker was named General Counsel and Senior Policy Director at the SEC.

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