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Mary Jo White, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced Monday that she will step down nearly three years before the end of her term, clearing the way for President-elect Donald Trump to reshape the way Wall Street is regulated.
The SEC, which polices Wall Street and the financial markets, has been a key part of the Obama administration’s effort to rein in big banks following the 2008 financial crisis and prevent future taxpayer bailouts of the industry. The agency has pushed for more oversight of hedge funds and other asset managers, and established rules that make it more difficult for big banks to make risky bets on the markets.
White, a former federal prosecutor, is known for a no-nonsense style and attempted to beef up the agency’s enforcement efforts over the last three years, pushing for more companies to admit guilt and taking more cases to trial. But progressive Democrats were often critical of her efforts, complaining they did not go far enough.
Trump has already indicated he would usher in a period of deregulation, including dismantling 2010’s financial reform legislation, known as the Dodd Frank Act. He appointed Paul Atkins, an industry veteran, who has called Dodd Frank a“calamity,” to lead the agency’s transition.
Atkins “is a guy in general who wants to let companies do their thing and not get in the way very much,” Ian Katz, a financial policy analyst with the research firm Capital Alpha Partners, said of Atkins. “You would see a lighter touch on enforcement and a lighter hand on corporate governance issue broadly.”
Atkins served as an SEC commissioner for six years during the President George W. Bush administration.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Mary Jo White.
- Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
- Independent Regulatory Agencies.