"His resignation took effect at noon today in Washington, agency spokesman John Nester said. During Cox’s 3 1/2-year tenure, the SEC has been criticized by lawmakers, investors and its own inspector general as lacking aggressiveness and being deferential to Wall Street banks. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, picked Mary Schapiro, the head of the U.S. brokerage industry’s self-regulator, to succeed the Republican Cox."

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