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National

Head Of SEC To Step Down After Four Years

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

After four years, Wall Street's top regulator, Mary Schapiro, is stepping down. President Obama appointed her to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission in January 2009, in the middle of the financial crisis.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, Schapiro has been credited with reviving a battered regulatory agency, but also criticized for not being tough enough on Wall Street.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Mary Schapiro was the victim of some unfortunate timing. She took over the SEC just as the Bernie Madoff scandal was coming to light, a scandal that highlighted the sorry performance of SEC regulators. At the same time, critics were charging that the SEC's failure to regulate Wall Street had contributed to the financial crisis and the collapse of big Wall Street banks. John Coffee, a professor of law at Columbia University, says Schapiro faced a huge challenge.

JOHN COFFEE: No SEC chairman ever has had as difficult an assignment as Mary Schapiro has had for the last several years.

YDSTIE: In interview with NPR in May of 2011, Schapiro acknowledged the SEC's prior failings and lamented the continued unwillingness of Congress to fund the agency adequately.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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