Elisse B. Walter
Elisse Walter official portrait.jpg
30th Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission
In office
December 14, 2012 – April 10, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byMary Schapiro
Succeeded byMary Jo White
Personal details
Born (1950-04-14) April 14, 1950 (age 72)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationYale University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)

Elisse B. Walter (born April 14, 1950) was the 30th Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from December 14, 2012 – April 10, 2013. She was appointed Chair by President Barack Obama on November 26, 2012, and sworn in on December 14, 2012.[1] She was originally appointed as one of five SEC Commissioners by President George W. Bush and sworn in on July 9, 2008. Under designation by President Obama, she later served as Acting Chair during January 2009.[2][3] She served as a Commissioner of the SEC until August 9, 2013.

On January 24, 2013, President Obama nominated Mary Jo White to be Walter's successor as Chair.[4] White was confirmed by the Senate on April 8, 2013,[5] and was sworn into office on April 10, 2013.[6]


Walter was born to a Jewish family[7] in New York City.[8] She attended Pembroke College at Brown University in 1967[8] and graduated from Yale University with a B.A., cum laude, in mathematics. She received her J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School.[2] She graduated from Herricks High School in New Hyde Park, Long Island, NY.


Walter is a member of the Board of Directors of Occidental Petroleum Corporation and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). She also serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), as well as a members of the Boards of Directors of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the National Women's Law Center.

Walter held 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.[8] Her term on the Commission ended June 5, 2012[3] but she continued to serve until August 9, 2013.[1]

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 comparable 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, Corporate Financing, Member Education and Training, Investor Education, Emerging Regulatory Issues, and Disciplinary Affairs. 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, including service as Associate General Counsel. Before joining the SEC, she was an attorney with a private law firm in Washington, DC, Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin and Kahn.

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.[2] She has been the recipient of a variety of honors, including the SEC Distinguished Service Award, the US Government SES Distinguished Executive Award, the Association of SEC Alumni [ASECA] William O. Douglas Award and the Federal Bar Association Manual F. Cohen Younger Lawyer and Philip A. Loomis, Jr. Awards.

SEC chair

Walter became Chair 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.[1] 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.[9]


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."[10]

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.[11]


Walter is married to Ronald Alan Stern, who served as the chief antitrust attorney for General Electric until September 2014.[12] They have two children.[2] Walter has two siblings, a brother, Alan N. Walter, an attorney, and a sister, Abra J. Walter, a psychologist.



  1. ^ a b c National Association of State Boards of Accountancy "New SEC Appointments", January 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  2. ^ a b c d SEC Biography. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  3. ^ a b "Concise Directory:Commissioners". SEC webpage section. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  4. ^ Hallman, Ben (January 24, 2013). "Mary Jo White, Obama Pick to Head SEC". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Senate confirms White to head SEC". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  6. ^ ElBoghdady, Dina (April 8, 2013). "Mary Jo White confirmed as SEC chief". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: April 13, 2018". Haaretz. April 13, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  8. ^ 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, by Steven P. Mitchell. Updated retrieval 2011-04-22.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ Testimony before the Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, United States House of Representatives, May 18, 2006.
  12. ^ Bewig, Matt, "Acting Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission: Who Is Elisse Walter?", allgov.com, December 01, 2012.
Political offices Preceded byMary Schapiro Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission 2012–2013 Succeeded byMary Jo White