Mary Schapiro, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said she wanted to show that her agency was cracking down after missing Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme. In May, she proposed that almost 10,000 money managers undergo surprise inspections to make sure they weren't ripping off clients.
"Investors are looking to the SEC to assure the safekeeping of their assets," Schapiro said at the time. "We cannot let them down."
On Dec. 16, she settled for something less sweeping. Schapiro joined four other commissioners in approving a rule that requires about 1,600 U.S. fund managers to submit to unannounced audits, 83 percent fewer than seven months ago. The revision came after lobbying by fund companies, including executives from T. Rowe Price Group Inc., who met with Schapiro, and Legg Mason Inc., who met with another commissioner, SEC records show.