Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shifting SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission will be a key regulator as Washington continues to restructure itself in response to the expanding financial crisis.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox has called for a combination of the agency and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, a key part of Paulson’s blueprint for regulatory reform.

Whether the agencies do combine, it won’t be under Cox’s watch. Arthur Levitt, SEC chairman during 1993 to 2001, is a potential pick for chairman. FINRA CEO Mary Schapiro is another potential choice because of her extensive experience working at both the CFTC and SEC. “To combine both these agencies you need someone with experience at both places,” said one securities attorney.

Another possible SEC chair pick is John Olson, a partner at Gibson Dunn LLP and former head of the American Bar Association’s business law section’s committee on Corporate Governance. Ex. SEC commissioners Harvey Goldschmid, Roel Campos and Annette Nazareth, are all possibilities. It would be easier for Obama to anoint an existing commissioner to the chair position. Elisse Walter, who is on the commission, could fit the bill. Lower level but still very important division chiefs at the SEC are on their way out too. John White, who heads the SEC’s corporate finance division, is expected to step down, leaving the hefty task of figuring out how to create a new derivatives disclosure regime to his successor. Stanley Keller, a partner at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP could replace White. -- Ron Orol

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