President Bush has designated Laura Unger acting chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, replacing Arthur Levitt who stepped down Feb. 9.

Unger was appointed commissioner of the SEC in 1997. That term expires in June of this year. As commissioner, Unger's main focus has been on how technology has affected the securities industry and she has evaluated how the SEC might best use technology to aid investors, according to an SEC statement in May of last year.

The SEC panel is made up of five commissioners, usually including two Democrats, two Republicans and a chairperson of the same party as the president. Currently, there are two Democrats, Isaac Hunt and Paul Carey, on the panel, and two seats that are vacant, leaving Unger as the only Republican.

The White House did not say when the President would appoint a permanent chair.

Before being appointed commissioner of the SEC, Unger was securities counsel to the Senate committee on banking, housing, and urban affairs where she advised former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, (R-N.Y.), when he was chairman of that committee. Prior to that, Unger was an attorney with the SEC's enforcement division.

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