Senate confirms ex-prosecutor White as SEC chairman

BY KEN TYSIAC

The Senate on Monday confirmed the nomination of Mary Jo White as chairman of the SEC.

White, a former prosecutor who was the first woman to hold the venerated position of U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, brings a pedigree that could raise the SEC’s reputation for enforcement.

The Southern District of New York includes Manhattan, and White’s successful prosecutions include that of Ramzi Yousef in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. She also gained a conviction in the prosecution of mob boss John Gotti in 1992 when she was acting U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York.

The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ), which is affiliated with the AICPA, issued a statement applauding White’s confirmation.

“Chairman White has a sterling record of enforcing the law in our capital markets and fighting for investors’ interests,” the CAQ said. “The CAQ vigorously supports her position that as chairman, the American public will be her client.”

White replaces Elisse Walter, who assumed leadership of the SEC on a short-term basis after Mary Schapiro stepped down as chairman in December. Walter remains an SEC commissioner.

Under White, the SEC will continue to implement rules required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, P.L. 111-203, a law passed in response to the recent financial crisis. The controversial “Volcker Rule,” created to prevent banks from making risky bets with government-insured funds, is among the Dodd-Frank requirements that has yet to result in a rule.

Ken Tysiac ( ktysiac@aicpa.org ) is a JofA senior editor.

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