by Jessica Holzer
Dow Jones Newswires
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro said Friday budget constraints were hampering the regulator’s ability to enforce U.S. securities laws, in her bluntest remarks yet on the resource strain facing the agency.
Schapiro, speaking at a legal seminar in Washington, D.C., said the budget strain was forcing market analysts to use decades-old technology to “monitor trading that occurs at the speed of light.”
She also suggested that data-management systems and a digital forensics lab were on the chopping block unless Congress acted to increase the regulator’s budget.
Also, she indicated the agency didn’t have the funds to hire the market experts it needs to keep ahead of fraudsters and manipulators.
The SEC was tasked with wider responsibilities by the Dodd-Frank financial law, but Congress hasn’t increased the agency’s budget.
With Republicans back in control of the House of Representatives, the prospects for a boost in the agency’s funding have dimmed significantly.
House Republicans on Friday unveiled a plan that would slash nondefense, discretionary spending for the rest of the year by 9%, a cut of $43 billion compared with 2010 levels. The plan didn’t contain details about cuts at specific federal agencies.