April 02, 2013

Former SEC chief Mary Schapiro, who policed Wall Street firms for more than three decades, is now going to become a bank consultant.

Schapiro, who left the SEC in December after four years at its helm, will join the Promontory Financial Group, a strategy, risk management, regulatory, and compliance consulting firm, as managing director and chairman of its governance and markets practice.

Schapiro’s new position marks a significant departure from her former career path: A lifelong regulator, Schapiro joined the government straight out of law school, and later ran the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, before moving on to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), before taking the reins of the S.E.C. in 2009, at a time when the watchdog had come under fire for failing to take action in the run-up to the devastating 2008 financial crisis and for also failing to spot Bernie Madoff’s unprecedented Ponzi scheme.

Schapiro’s move to the other side coincides with a tough time for Promontory, which has itself been heavily criticized for its role in the financial crisis, particularly for lowballing the amount of harm homeowners experienced while examining loans for Wells Fargo, Bank of America and PNC and collecting billions of dollars in fees for doing so, the New York Times reports .

Promontory denies any wrongdoing. Still, the fact that the highly regarded Schapiro has now landed at the consulting firm will certainly serve to boost its public image, as well as its corporate governance practice, which advises public companies on how best to manage risk.

“The risk environment for firms in today’s global markets is increasingly complex,” Schapiro said in a statement on Tuesday. While Schapiro’s salary at Promontory is unknown, it is likely to pay more than the $165,000 annual salary she earned at the S.E.C. The New York Times reports that Schapiro will also pick up big checks as she joins corporate boards. Last month, General Electric nominated her to join its board, a position that can pay around $250,000, according to the Times.

At any rate, compensation is unlikely to be Schapiro’s prime concern in her new job, since she reportedly left FINRA in 2008 with a healthy $7 million-plus payout.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...