Mary L. Schapiro

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Mary L. Schapiro
Occupation Managing Director and Chairman
Employer Promontory Financial Group LLC
Location Washington, DC

Mary L. Schapiro is a veteran financial market regulator and former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

She was appointed by President-elect Barack Obama and sworn in as chairman of the SEC on Jan. 26, 2009,[1] in the middle of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.[2] [3] She was the first woman to serve as the SEC's permanent chairwoman.

Schapiro took over as head of the SEC after it was accused of failing to detect reckless investments by many of Wall Street's largest financial institutions. She led the agency as it brought civil charges against some of those large banks.[4]

In her testimony before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on January 16, 2009, Schapiro said the SEC should be "reinvigorated" and "have a laser-like focus on fraud and investor protection."[5]

Among her first acts as chairman, Schapiro freed enforcement officials from the need to get SEC approval before negotiating settlements with companies and established an accelerated process for authorizing subpoenas and depositions. This was in line with her strategy to turn around what many saw as a legacy of red tape inherited from the previous chairman Christopher Cox. [6]

She pushed for self-funding, in which the agency would pay for its activities through industry fees, as part of the Dodd-Frank overhaul soon after she took over as chairman. She said the move would have given the SEC greater latitude in setting its budget provided it some freedom from congressional oversight of its purse strings, and enabled it to hire staff more quickly. Congress, however, decided not to include self-funding in Dodd-Frank.[7]

In August of 2010, she introduced reform that focused on anticipating crisis rather than reacting to complaints. The new strategy eliminated a whole layer of management. It also gave staff members the power to initiate investigations, issue subpoenas and start settlement negotiations without having prior approval from commissioners appointed by the president. [8]

Schapiro left the SEC on Dec. 14, 2012.


Before becoming SEC chairman, Schapiro was chief operating officer of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business with the U.S. public. Schapiro also served as chairman of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the largest foundation in the U.S. dedicated to investor education.

Schapiro joined the organization in 1996 as president of NASD Regulation, was named vice chairman in 2002, and in 2006 became NASD's chairman and COO. In 2007, NASD was merged with elements of the member firm oversight components of New York Stock Exchange Regulation to create FINRA.[9]

NYSE Regulation's three divisions (Market Surveillance, Enforcement, and Listed Company Compliance) regulate equities and options trading and listing compliance for the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Arca, and NYSE Alternext US.

Before assuming her present duties, Schapiro in 1994 was appointed by President Clinton as chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). She is also a former SEC commissioner under Ronald Reagan.

Prior to assuming the CFTC chairmanship, she served for six years as a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. She was appointed in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan, reappointed by President Bush in 1989 and named acting chairman by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Schapiro is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and was chairman of the IOSCO SRO Consultative Committee from 2002 until 2006.


Schapiro is a 1977 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. In 1980 she earned a Juris Doctor degree (with honors) from George Washington University.


In 2000 Schapiro was named the Financial Women's Association Public Sector Woman of the Year, and in 2006, she was inducted into the Futures Industry Association Futures Hall of Fame. [10]

Professional Affiliations

She is on the advisory board of Promontory Financial Group LLC[11] and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Franklin and Marshall College and a member of the boards of directors of Duke Energy and Kraft Foods. She also serves on the Rand Corporation's LRN-RAND Center of Corporate Ethics, Law and Governance Advisory Board.

She was appointed a non-executive director on the board of the London Stock Exchange Group effective July 1, 2015.[12]


  1. Can Mary Schapiro Revitalize the SEC?. Time Magazine.
  2. SEC official Elisse Walter chosen to lead agency. SF Gate.
  3. US Financial Watchdog Boss Named. BBC.
  4. Schapiro Approved As New SEC Chairman. Reuters.
  5. U.S. SEC nominee promises "laser" focus on fraud. Reuters.
  6. In Cox Years at the SEC, Policies Undercut Action. The Washington Post.
  7. Schapiro Reflects, Acknowledges Some Failures. The New York Times.
  8. No Longer a Doormat. FT.
  9. About FINRA, Mary L. Schapiro. FINRA.
  10. "Mary L. Schapiro”.
  11. Promontory Adds SEC’s Schapiro to Roster of Ex-Regulators. Bloomberg.
  12. Mary Schapiro to Join London Stock Exchange Board. The New York Times.