Finra CEO to take over at SEC

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WASHINGTON, DC - President-elect Barack Obama is expected to announce Mary Schapiro, chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra), as his choice for the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The present chair of the SEC, Christopher Cox, continues to come under fire over a raft of failures, the latest related to the world's largest-ever fraud, by Bernard Madoff. And although every new president appoints their own SEC chairman, the swift replacement of Cox is mindful of the public impression that the supervisor has failed investors.

Schapiro served as a commissioner of the SEC for six years between 1988 and 1993. She was appointed as chairman of the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1994 before joining NASD Regulation as president in 1996. In 2006, she was named chairman before taking over as chief executive and president of the newly consolidated organisation Finra in 2007.

Among her primary duties at the SEC, Schapiro is likely to rewrite the SEC rulebook in light of new legislation expected to emerge from the Hill following Obama's inauguration. The new rules are expected to address issues such as whether hedge funds should come under close regulatory scrutiny and short-selling regulations.

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