By Barbara Wenger
Mary Schapiro, the former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was elected to Morgan Stanley’s board of directors.
Schapiro, vice chair of the Promontory Advisory Board, part of the consulting firm Promontory Financial, served as the 29th SEC chairman from 2009 through 2012. She was appointed by President Barack Obama, and was the first woman to serve as the agency’s permanent chairman.
During her tenure at the SEC she was touted for aggressively revamping the agency and upping enforcement after the fall out from the financial sector’s collapse and the Bernie Madoff ponzi-scheme scandal.
She’s a proponent of clearly defined regulations so company leaders are clear about what they can and can’t do.
“Sometimes if rules are written too generally, or merely set out a standard that’s aspirational, they can’t be enforced. And my experience as a regulator for 30 years is, if you can’t enforce the rules people aren’t going to pay attention to the rules. You need that hammer out there that forces people to pay attention and allocate resources to complying with that particular rule,” she said in an interview with Yale University in 2014.
Prior to becoming SEC chairman, she was CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) – the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business with the U.S. public. She previously served as a commissioner of the SEC from 1988 to 1994. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, reappointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, and named acting chairman by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She left the SEC when President Clinton appointed her chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), where she served until 1996. She is the first person to have served as chairman of both the SEC and CFTC.
“We will all benefit from her deep knowledge of the financial markets and regulatory environment,” said Ray Wilkin, chair of the board’s nominating and governance committee.
And James Gorman, chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, added, “Her leadership experience at the SEC, FINRA and CFTC brings strong finance, risk management and regulatory expertise to the firm. The Board, our management and our shareholders will benefit greatly from her extensive experience in government and public policy.
Schapiro currently serves on the boards of CVS Health Corporation and The London Stock Exchange Group.