Further SEC resignations are expected as chairman quits


Further resignations are expected at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of a wider shake-up of the main US financial regulator after Mr Harvey Pitt quit as chairman.

Mr Robert Herdman was yesterday under pressure to resign as chief accountant at the SEC.

Mr William Webster, whose botched appointment as head of the new US accountancy regulator precipitated Mr Pitt's departure, may also step aside.

Mr Pitt's resignation, announced as the US mid-term election polls closed on Tuesday night, came after just 15 months in the post. His tenure was marred by political controversy and a series of misjudgments. It emerged last week that Mr Pitt had not passed on what seemed to be crucial information to the other four SEC commissioners who were to vote on Mr Webster's suitability.

Mr Webster had served on the audit committee of US Technologies, a company whose financial deals and controls had themselves been questioned.

The episode was a further embarrassment for US President Mr George W. Bush, who appointed Mr Pitt, as investors around the world watched the administration's attempts to restore investor confidence in US financial markets. A number of names were floated yesterday as possible successors to Mr Pitt. - (Financial Times Service)