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Schapiro likely to be questioned about Madoff ties

By A. James Memmott

December 19, 2008 at 11:30am

Mary L. Schapiro, Barack Obama’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, is being described as the right person to help restore the commission’s battered reputation.

“If there is anybody who is going to reinvigorate the SEC, it is Mary,” David M. Becker, the commission’s former general counsel, told The Washington Post. “I have no doubt that with her leading the SEC, it will show its teeth whenever necessary.”

Schapiro, 53, is a former SEC commissioner who was appointed to that post first by Ronald Reagan and then reappointed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Mary L. Schapiro
Mary L. Schapiro

She now heads the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an industry self-regulatory body commonly called Finra that succeeded the National Association of Securities Dealers in 2007.

She’s being nominated to lead the SEC at a time when it faces heavy criticism for neglecting its regulatory duties.

Responding to the agency latest crisis, Christopher Cox, the current commission chairman, said Tuesday that he was “gravely concerned” that the SEC had not done a complete investigation of allegations about the trading activity of Bernard L. Madoff.

Madoff, the head of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, was arrested last week in what is alleged to be a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

The scheme came to light when Madoff’s sons, Andrew and Mark, turned him in to authorities. Neither of the Madoff sons, nor anyone else at the firm, has been charged with a crime.

Schapiro will undoubtedly be questioned about the Madoff case when her nomination goes to Congress for approval.

For sure, she will also be asked about her own connections to Madoff family members.

Both Andrew and Mark Madoff, the co-heads of trading at Madoff Investment Securities, served in the past on committees of the National Association of Security Dealers.

Schapiro was at the association from 1996 until its consolidation into Finra in 2007, last serving as chairman.

Another Madoff family member served on a Finra committee this year until her resignation Tuesday.

Shana Madoff, Bernard Madoff’s niece and a compliance officer at Madoff Securities, was on Finra’s compliance advisory committee.

A lawyer, Shana Madoff is married to Eric Swanson, who was an attorney at the SEC for 10 years until his departure in 2006.

Shana Madoff and Swanson reportedly met in 2006 and were married in 2007.

As reported in The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, Cox has said that the SEC is investigating “all staff contact and relationships with family and firm and their impact, if any, on decisions by staff regarding the firm.”

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1 Comments

  • #1.   Lloyd G. 12.21.2008

    “She now heads the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an industry self-regulatory body commonly called Finra that succeeded the National Association of Securities Dealers in 2007.

    She’s being nominated to lead the SEC at a time when it faces heavy criticism for neglecting its regulatory duties.”

    But FINRA was doing its job?

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