WASHINGTON – Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Mary Schapiro has announced she will leave the SEC Dec. 14.

“It has been an incredibly-rewarding experience to work with so many dedicated SEC staff who strive every day to protect investors and ensure our markets operate with integrity,” Schapiro said in a release. “Over the past four years we have brought a record number of enforcement actions, engaged in one of the busiest rulemaking periods, and gained greater authority from Congress to better fulfill our mission.”

The first woman to serve as the SEC’s chairman, Schapiro was appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in January 2009, shortly after the start of the financial crisis. She is the only person to have served as both chairman of the SEC and the Consumer Futures Trading Commission.

The reforms undertaken during Schapiro’s tenure made the commission more adept at pursing tips and complaints and improved market intelligence capabilities, the SEC said in its release. In each of the last two years, the SEC has brought a record number of enforcement actions: 735 in fiscal year 2011 and 734 in fiscal year 2012.

Under her leadership, the SEC increased the number of enforcement actions involving municipal securities. The SEC filed more than twice the number of muni-related actions in fiscal-year 2012 than in the previous year.  Among those actions were charges against the former mayor and treasurer of Detroit related to pay-to-play scheme.

However, the commission was unable to define the term “municipal advisor” in final registration rules during Schapiro’s tenure, slowing down regulatory oversight of MAs.

The release noted that Schapiro has led the commission after the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, which it called “one of the busiest rulemaking periods in decades.”

Schapiro was commissioner at the SEC from 1988 to 1994. She later was chairman of the CFTC.

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