Nov. 26 - The head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro, will step down in December after a tumultuous four years. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The Power Player today is Mary Schapiro. Schapiro announced she is leaving her job as the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in December. So let's take a look at her legacy. For starters, she saved the SEC. After the agency failed to notice the scams of Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford, many people on Wall Street and in Washington considered the regulator redundant. But Schapiro was determined to change their minds. This is what she said at her Senate confirmation hearing right after U.S. President Barack Obama nominated her to head the SEC in 2009. SOUNDBITE: MARY SCHAPIRO, SEC CHAIRMAN NOMINEE, SAYING (ENGLISH): "There can be no sacred cows. We have to go with full force and fervor against anyone who violates investors trust large or small regardless of their standing in the investment community." Schapiro increased oversight, streamlined the enforcement process by making it easier for staff to issue subpoenas, and created specialized units, a new tips database, and a whistleblower office. She convinced lawmakers to expand the SEC's powers and pledge a major funding boost. She successfully went after people involved in an insider trading scandal, including former Goldman Sachs partner Rajat Gupta. And she had to fight other fires -- from the 2010 flash crash and losing court battles over SEC enforcement actions, to new challenges to SEC rule makings. But she's not without her critics: There's the collapse of MF Global; some say, under Schapiro, the SEC has been too slow in writing new rules arising from Dodd-Frank reform; critics also indicate that the SEC did not make any of the Wall Street big guys pay for the subprime mortgage mess; and that the SEC has had troubles catching up with technology like high-frequency trading. After Mary Schapiro leaves on December 14, SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter will serve as chairman-designate on a temporary basis. A White House official said President Barack Obama plans to nominate a full-term replacement in the near future.