The Talent

June 15, 2010 6:50 PM

Bartiromo to SEC Chairman Schapiro: "Having Fun Yet?"

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

Note to lawyers considering public service: the Securities and Exchange Commission just might be hiring.

That was among the topics discussed Monday evening when Mary Schapiro--the SEC's twenty-ninth chairman and the first woman to be named to the job on a permanent basis--sat down for an interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo in front of an audience at the New York Law School. The event was hosted by the Financial Women's Association of New York, Inc.

In a wide-ranging discussion that touched on Schapiro's first 17 months on the job, a crippling financial crisis, the congressional push to regulate Wall Street more closely, and the stock market's "flash crash" in May 2010, the SEC head noted that her agency is always looking for employees with a desire to work in the public realm. Schapiro also added that the SEC's staff of roughly 3,700 people must grow in order to keep up with all the entities it regulates. 

And, Schapiro said, those whose views don't echo hers shouldn't be discouraged from considering a job with the SEC. Indeed, she attributed her own success to surrounding herself with "great and talented people" whose views sometimes differ from her own.

In reference to the tumultuous financial year, Bartiromo, host of CNBC's Closing Bell, jokingly asked Shapiro, "Are you having fun yet?"

Schapiro insisted that her SEC tenure has been marked by "moments of fun and great satisfaction." She went on to summarize some of the measures that the agency has taken to stabilize markets and coordinate financial regulations, pointing specifically to the circuit breakers the SEC approved after the May flash crash that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average fall 1,000 points in less than an hour before rebounding.

The circuit breakers, Schapiro saids, will be in place at the NYSE to enforce new rules that call for U.S. stock exchanges to briefly halt trading of more active shares if prices for a particular share move up or down by more than 10 percent in a five-minute period. Schapiro said she believes these new rules will make for more orderly trading and hopefully prevent a sudden slide similar to the one that occurred in May.

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