WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) - U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White on Thursday defended the process her agency follows when deciding whether to grant regulatory waivers to companies that break the law, saying it is not a "knee-jerk exercise."
Thursday marked the first time White has publicly discussed her views on the waiver process, which came under scrutiny about a year ago after the agency's two Democratic commissioners began accusing the agency of rubber-stamping waivers and creating a policy of "too-big-to-bar."
White took a balanced approach to the issue Thursday, saying the SEC will not be deterred from denying waivers to big banks if necessary. At the same time, she said, waivers should not be viewed as an enforcement tool to deter misconduct. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch)