WASHINGTON, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Mary Jo White, U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Tuesday pledged "bold and unrelenting" enforcement to lead the agency if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
"If confirmed, it will be a high priority throughout my tenure to further strengthen the enforcement function of the SEC. It must be fair, but it also must be bold and unrelenting," White said before the Senate Banking Committee.
"Strong enforcement is necessary for investor confidence and it is essential to the integrity of our financial markets," she said at the committee hearing on her nomination, adding that " proceeding aggressively against wrongdoers" would serve to "deter the unlawful practices."
White built a reputation as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 and 2002, where she prosecuted several terrorists and numerous white collar crimes, including insider trading and securities fraud cases.
However, some critics questioned her lack of regulatory experience and financial background to lead the agency in today's high-speed, high-tech, and dispersed marketplace.
White stressed in the testimony that she "will work to ensure the SEC has the cutting-edge technology and expertise necessary to enable it to keep pace with the markets and its responsibilities to monitor, regulate, and enforce the securities laws."
White also pledged to finish the rulemaking mandates contained in the Dodd-Frank Act, the biggest overhaul of the U.S. financial regulation enacted by President Barack Obama in 2010, and seek to assess the economic impact of the contemplated rulemaking.
President Obama nominated White to head the SEC in January, signaling a move to get tougher on Wall Street. If she is confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first former prosecutor to head the agency in its more than 80-year history.
The SEC played a critical role in protecting the U.S. financial system at the peak of the financial crisis. In the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012, the financial watchdog filed 734 enforcement actions and collected more than 3 billion U.S. dollars in penalties and disgorgement.