SEC Nominee White Vows ‘Bold and Unrelenting’ Enforcement

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nominee Mary Jo White, intends to tell lawmakers that she will bring a “bold and unrelenting” enforcement program to the agency if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Reuters reports that Ms. White stated in a prepared testimony released ahead of her confirmation before the Senate Banking Committee that, “Investors and all market participants need to know that the playing field of our markets is level and that all wrongdoers — individual and institutional…will be aggressively pursued by the SEC.”

The Financial Crisis & The SEC

The SEC has filed numerous cases in connection with the 2007-2009 financial crisis, and has faced criticism from both the public and lawmakers who say it has failed to hold high-level executives accountable, and settles too frequently, rather than taking banks to trial.

There has also been movement in the industry to better regulate how the SEC handles enforcement cases. Better Markets, a liberal non-profit, recently launched a new webpage called “SEC Watch” that will highlight enforcement cases and their management by the SEC.

Ms. White’s recent testimony is the first time the public has had a chance to hear her priorities for the SEC. Reuters reports that little is known about her views on regulatory policy, or how she intends to vote on crucial areas facing the SEC that concern over-the-counter derivatives, credit ratings, and money market funds.

Ms. White did speak to market-structure issues such as high-frequency trading, algorithms, order types and dark pools, as areas that the SEC should continue exploring, stating:

There must be a sense of urgency brought to addressing these issues to understand their impact on investors and the quality of our markets so that the appropriate regulatory responses can be made.”

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