SEC Chair Will Step Down Ahead of Trump Appointments

Mary Jo White, who became the 31st Chair of the SEC in April 2013, will be one of the SEC’s longest serving Chairs.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White, after nearly four years as the agency’s head, announced that she intends to leave at the end of the Obama Administration.

Chair White, who became the 31st Chair of the SEC in April 2013, will be one of the SEC’s longest serving Chairs.

In addition to completing the vast majority of the agency’s mandates under the Dodd-Frank Act and all of its mandates under the JOBS Act, Chair White’s leadership has advanced the agency’s mission through other critical rulemakings and built robust and effective frameworks for the SEC’s regulatory regimes going forward.

“My duty has been to ensure that the Commission implemented strong investor and market protections, and to establish an enduring foundation for future progress in the most critical areas—asset management regulation, equity market structure and disclosure effectiveness,” says White. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the SEC’s staff, we have accomplished both.”

Under her leadership, the SEC advanced more than 50 significant rulemaking initiatives, including:

  • Fundamental reforms to the money market fund industry;
  • A comprehensive framework for enhancing the effectiveness of corporate disclosure for investors
  • Major enhancements to transparency and risk management for asset-backed securities, which were a significant contributor to the financial crisis;
  • Strong operating standards for the clearing agencies that stand at the center of our financial system; and
  • Extensive reforms to the regulation of credit rating agencies and how they address conflicts of interest that can harm investors.
NEXT: Improved enforcement

To enhance accountability of those who violate the securities laws, White implemented the Commission’s first-ever policy to require admissions of wrongdoing in certain cases where heightened accountability and acceptance of responsibility is appropriate. Thus far, the Commission has required admissions from more than 70 defendants, including 44 entities and 29 individuals.

Under White’s leadership, the Commission made significant enhancements to its examination program, including increasing staff by about 20% by hiring new examiners where funding permitted and redeploying staff from other program areas to heighten focus on the fast-growing investment management industry. The exam program also increased its use of advanced quantitative techniques to enable examiners to detect misconduct by more quickly analyzing large amounts of data. The Commission also enhanced technology in its examination program through the National Exam Analytics Tool (NEAT), which enables examiners to analyze large volumes of trading data much more efficiently.

White serves as a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and on several other domestic and international organizations, including the International Organization of Securities Commissions, the Financial Stability Board, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation Monitoring Board, the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee, and the Federal Housing Finance Oversight Board.

White says, “It has been and will always be critical for this agency and the public that the SEC remain truly independent. That independence is crucial to our ability to protect investors, safeguard our markets and facilitate the capital formation that fosters innovation and the growth that is essential to our national economy.”