Elisse B. Walter

Elisse B. Walter

Elisse Walter
30th Chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission
In office
December 14, 2012 – April 10, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Mary Schapiro
Succeeded by Mary Jo White
Personal details
Born (1950-04-14) April 14, 1950
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater Brown University
Yale University
Harvard University

Elisse B. Walter (born April 14, 1950 in Obama, she later served as Acting Chairwoman during January 2009.[3][4]

On January 24, 2013, President Obama nominated Mary Jo White to be Walter's successor as Chairwoman.[5] White was confirmed by the Senate on April 8, 2013,[6] and was sworn into office on April 10, 2013.[7]


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
    • SEC chair 2.1
    • Issues 2.2
  • Personal 3
  • Publications 4
  • Notes 5


Walter attended Pembroke College at Brown University in 1967[1] and graduated from Yale University with a B.A., cum laude, in applied mathematics. She received her J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School.[3] She graduated from Herricks High School in New Hyde Park, Long Island, NY.


Walter holds a Democratic seat on the Commission, succeeding Annette Nazareth, who left the SEC in January 2008 to work in private practice. Walter was recommended for the Commissioner position by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) in 2007, along with fellow Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar.[1] Her term on the Commission ended June 5, 2012[4] but she can continue to serve until the end of 2013.[2]

Prior to her appointment as an SEC Commissioner, she served as Senior Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy & Programs, for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). She held the same position at the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) before its 2007 consolidation with NYSE Member Regulation and redesignation as FINRA. Walter coordinated policy issues across FINRA and oversaw a number of departments including Investment Company Regulation, Member Education and Training, Investor Education, and Emerging Regulatory Issues. She also served on the Board of Directors of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

Prior to joining the NASD, she served as General Counsel of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Before joining the CFTC in 1994, she was the Deputy Director of the Division of Corporation Finance at the SEC. She served on the SEC's staff beginning in 1977, both in that Division and in the Office of the General Counsel. Before joining the SEC, she was an attorney with a private law firm.

Walter served on the Board of Trustees of Jewish Women International and the SEC Historical Society and is a member of the Academy of Women Achievers of the YWCA of the City of New York, according to her official biographies.[3]

SEC chair

Walter became Chairwoman when her predecessor, Mary Schapiro, stepped down on December 14, 2012. Walter was serving a five-year term that ended in June 2012, but Commissioners can serve an additional 18 months after their terms end, according to a MarketWatch report at the time her appointment was announced. Even at that time, President Obama was likely to nominate someone for a full term soon thereafter, the report said.[2] Walter "told agency officials that she plans to serve for a short time. The White House, which faces more pressing cabinet-level nominations, is expected to name an S.E.C. successor next year," the NY Times reported then.[8]


Ms. Walter has led the SEC's in-depth review of the municipal securities markets.

In August 2008 at an opening meeting of the SEC, Walter expressed her support for the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards for U.S. companies, but cautioned that a ruling from the SEC was far from finalized. "Most important, we have to keep in mind that no one knows for certain what the future will hold," she said. "I strongly believe that we have to prepare for the alternative that the Commission will determine not to adopt, or permit the use of, IFRS for U.S. issuers. . . . [T]here are significant hurdles to overcome over the next three years in order for the Commission to determine to accept IFRS reporting from U.S. issuers."[9]

Another issue she addressed, while at the National Association of Securities Dealers, was the NASD's regulatory activities regarding inappropriate sales of certain investment products to members of the armed forces. Testifying before a congressional subcommittee in May 2006 concerning the NASD's financial education programs focused on military service members and their families, she addressed issues raised by a particular broker-dealer, First Command Financial Planning, Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, which had been making inappropriate sales of products and services, including the sale of an investment product called Periodic Payment Plans or PPPs. First Command had targeted and sold more than a half million complicated and often extremely expensive PPPs to servicepersons. After investigation and censure, the firm was fined $12 million in December 2004. That amount included restitution, and funding for the NASD Investor Education Foundation. As of 2006, First Command informed the NASD that it has ceased selling PPPs.[10]


Walter is married to Ronald Alan Stern, the chief antitrust attorney for General Electric.[11] They have two sons.[3]


  • Walter, E. B., ‘Regulating Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers: Demarcation or Harmonization?,’ Journal of Corporation Law (2009) 35(1).


  1. ^ a b c "Elisse B. Walter: Why She Matters" in Who runs Gov, a Washington Post publication. Three pages. Article last edited Mar. 08, 2011, 3:36AM by Steven P. Mitchell. Updated retrieval 2011-04-22.
  2. ^ a b c National Association of State Boards of Accountancy "New SEC Appointments", January 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  3. ^ a b c d SEC Biography. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  4. ^ a b "Concise Directory:Commissioners". SEC webpage section. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  5. ^ Hallman, Ben (January 24, 2013). "Mary Jo White, Obama Pick to Head SEC". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Senate confirms White to head SEC". boston.com. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  7. ^ ElBoghdady, Dina (April 8, 2013). "Mary Jo White confirmed as SEC chief". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Protess, Ben, and Susanne Craig, "As Miller Drops Out, Race for S.E.C. Chief Shifts", New York Times, November 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  9. ^ "Roadmap for the potential use of financial statements prepared in accordance with international financial reporting standards from U.S. issuers" Speech by Elisse B. Walter, Aug. 27, 2008. Cited in Who Runs Gov.
  10. ^ Testimony before the Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, United States House of Representatives, May 18, 2006.
  11. ^ http://www.allgov.com/news/appointments-and-resignations/acting-chair-of-the-securities-and-exchange-commission-who-is-elisse-walter-121201?news=846354
Political offices
Preceded by
Mary Schapiro
Chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission
Succeeded by
Mary Jo White