WASHINGTON — Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro said Monday that she plans to step down next month.

Schapiro, who took office shortly after President Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, said she will leave Dec. 14.

"Over the past four years we have brought a record number of enforcement actions, engaged in one of the busiest rulemaking periods, and gained greater authority from Congress to better fulfill our mission," Schapiro said in a press release.

The SEC has taken 735 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2011 and 734 in fiscal 2012, according to the agency.

Prior to her tenure as head of the SEC, Schapiro served as a commissioner at the SEC, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and chairman and chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a self-regulatory organization for broker-dealers and exchanges.

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