US Senate backs Pitt as SEC chief

Pitt, 56, will replace Laura Unger who was acting head of the SEC following the resignation of Arthur Levitt as chairman in February this year.

A Republican securities lawyer and former general counsel to the SEC in the 1970s, Pitt is expected to favour easing the red tape burden. Earlier this month he told a Senate Banking Committee hearing that he would like the SEC to lead a review of the requirements it administers, and the regulations it imposes, ‘to be certain they are sound, reasonable, cost-effective and that they promote competition’.

Despite being unwilling to criticise his predecessor Levitt, who led a crusade for greater auditor independence, reports suggest he will adopt a more conservative approach to law making.

Republican Michael Oxley, chairman of the House Financial Services committee told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Pitt would bring ‘unprecedented expertise’ to the post.

He added: ‘I am certain [Pitt] will share my desire to promote competition, efficiency and capital formation and to bring the benefits of technology to investors.’

Prior to taking on the SEC post, Pitt was a former partner at Washington law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where his clients included all the Big Five accounting firms, Lloyds of London and the New York Stock Exchange.

Pitt has taken a massive cut in salary, with his $3m (Pounds 2.09m) wage in private practise expected to tumble to $133,000 (Pounds 93,000) at the SEC, and to avoid any conflict of interest he has sold all his company shares.


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