The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission said yesterday, "After nearly four years in office, SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro today announced that she will step down on Dec. 14, 2012. Chairman Schapiro, who became chairman in the wake of the financial crisis in January 2009, strengthened, reformed, and revitalized the agency." A statement by President Obama commented, "Today, the President issued the following statement on the announcement by Mary Schapiro, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, that she will be leaving her post. The President also announced that he intends to designate Elisse Walter, a current Commissioner, as Chair upon Ms. Schapiro's departure next month." While the money market mutual fund industry certainly won't miss Schapiro, it's unclear whether Walter will be any more kind to the cash management industry.

Schapiro commented in her statement, "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. 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."

The release adds, "Chairman Schapiro is one of the longest-serving SEC chairmen, having served longer than 24 of the previous 28. She was appointed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2009, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. During her tenure, Chairman Schapiro worked to bolster the SEC's enforcement and examination programs, among others. As a result of a series of reforms, the agency is more adept at pursing tips and complaints provided by outsiders, better able to identify wrongdoers through vastly upgraded market intelligence capabilities, and more strategic, innovative and risk-focused in the way it inspects financial firms."

Among Schapiro's accomplishments, the SEC refers to the 2010 Rule 2a-7 amendments. A statement says that she, "Adopted widely-hailed rules to enhance the resiliency of money market funds -- The SEC adopted rules to make money market funds more resilient by strengthening credit quality, liquidity and maturity standards, as well as introducing stress testing requirements and mandating new reporting of money market fund holdings. In addition, the SEC made available to investors the detailed information about a fund's investments and the market-based price of its portfolio known as its "shadow NAV" (net asset value) or mark-to-market valuation. The Chairman also called upon the Financial Stability Oversight Council to act to make such funds less susceptible to destabilizing runs like occurred during the credit crisis."

The SEC's release adds, "Chairman Schapiro previously served as a commissioner at the SEC from 1988 to 1994. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, reappointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, and named Acting Chairman by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She left the SEC when President Clinton appointed her as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where she served until 1996. She is the only person to have ever served as chairman of both the SEC and CFTC. As SEC chairman, Schapiro also serves on the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the FHFA Oversight Board, the Financial Stability Oversight Board, and the IFRS Foundation Monitoring Board."

President Obama commented in his statement, "I want to express my deep gratitude to Mary Schapiro for her steadfast leadership at the Securities and Exchange Commission. When Mary agreed to serve nearly four years ago, she was fully aware of the difficulties facing the SEC and our economy as a whole. But she accepted the challenge, and today, the SEC is stronger and our financial system is safer and better able to serve the American people -- thanks in large part to Mary's hard work. I am also pleased to designate Elisse Walter as SEC Chairman after Mary's departure. I'm confident that Elisse's years of experience will serve her well in her new position, and I'm grateful she has agreed to help lead the agency."

ICI President & CEO Paul Schott Stevens issued the statement, "SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro has led the SEC during a critical time for the agency, the financial industry and America's investors. We are grateful for her dedication to strengthening protections for investors and the functioning of markets, particularly in the challenging task of implementing the Dodd-Frank Act. Chairman Schapiro also brought a welcome focus to improving the management of the Commission, reorganizing, hiring needed industry expertise, and employing technology to enhance its effectiveness."

He added, "While we disagreed with Chairman Shapiro on some issues, we have immense respect for her commitment to public service and the interests of investors. We wish Chairman Schapiro well in the future. As the next SEC Chairman, SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter brings an extraordinary record of accomplishment in service to investors at both the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. We look forward to continuing to work closely with her and her fellow commissioners on a wide range of issues."

For a look at SEC Commissioner Elyse Walter's speech on money fund reform early this year, see Crane Data's March 20 News "SEC Commissioner Walter Asks Fund Companies to Re-Engage at MFIMC". She said then, "Simply put: the regulatory process is better with you as a part of it. I have always appreciated the views and involvement of the industry, and believe that your engagement is essential to reaching optimal answers to the important questions posed in securities regulation. The topic of money market funds, in particular, is just too important to let the dialogue play out through a public volley of slogans. I'll say at the outset that I'm not here to talk about my position on the need for any further reform.... Before formulating a definitive position, my plan is to continue to discuss these critical questions with the staff, my fellow commissioners, the Chairman, members of the public, and those of you who are interested in that dialogue."

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