President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday picked Mary Schapiro to serve as the next chief of the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, the agency in charge of providing investor protections and ensuring fair and efficient markets.

Schapiro, 53, has spent time with the National Association of Securities Dealers, and she currently runs the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The current chairman of the SEC is Christopher Cox, who has faced criticism and questions in recent months about his agency's enforcement and investigative abilities during the financial crisis, most recently in the

Bernard Madoff

scandal.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.