As Mary Schapiro scrambles to undo the errors of past SEC chairmen, she will be demanding answers and accountability for some monumental blunders.
And so will her boss, President Barack Obama.
The president essentially put Ms. Schapiro, the new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the rest of the government on notice Feb. 24 during his address to a joint session of Congress.
Mr. Obama has pledged to remake the financial regulatory system, and that means creating new rules for financial institutions and a promise to bring stricter oversight without hindering free markets.
If Ms. Schapiro does not live up to the intensely high expectations, she will not be able to blame it on a lack of funds.
Under the presidents plan, the SECs budget for fiscal 2010 would increase by more than 13% from its 2008 budget of $906 million.
Such a boost to the budget is something different for the SEC.
For fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30, the Bush administration asked Congress to increase the SECs budget by less than 1%, to about $914 million.
The 2009 budget has not been finalized by Congress.
If Ms. Schapiro does not whip the SEC into shape, her job and her legacy as a career regulator could be at stake.
The pressure is on her. Even a cursory glance at recent SEC action in the area of enforcement shows that the agency has been slow or inefficient in a number of matters, both large and small.
For Ms. Schapiro, foremost is an explanation as to why the SEC neglected to act on a credible tip that Bernard Madoff's investment business was a sham.
Additionally, as she prepares to overhaul the agency and make it more efficient in acting on tips and prosecuting cases, she would be wise to take heed of smaller issues that often fail to grab headlines but can have a profound impact on investors as well as investment advisers.