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April 14, 2014

SEC’s Mary Jo White Defies Political Meddling in Year One

“Mary Jo White took over the Securities and Exchange Commission with a back-to-basics plan to toughen enforcement and clear a backlog of regulations aimed at the last financial crisis.

“Now White and the SEC may be confronting the next crisis: claims that the stock market is rigged. Ending her first year as SEC chairman, White faces a surge of pressure to rein in high-frequency traders portrayed as the stock market’s scalpers in Michael Lewis’s new book, “Flash Boys.”

“A former litigator renowned for her independent streak, White said the agency won’t be knocked off its course. The regulator is taking a long view, examining all features of the hyper-fast markets, including high-frequency traders, and using a “data-driven, disciplined approach.”

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“Democratic-aligned critics complain that she has prioritized the deregulatory JOBS Act agenda while failing to make enough progress on Dodd-Frank. Dennis Kelleher, president of financial-reform advocacy group Better Markets, said that the SEC hasn’t finished rules to limit the risk posed by derivatives trading and the conflicts of interest inherent in credit ratings.

“I think Wall Street’s allies on the Hill are pretty pleased,” Kelleher said in an interview.

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Read full Bloomberg Businessweek article here.

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