When Christopher Cox took office as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission a year ago, investor advocates took note of his firm business ties, fearing he would undo many of the regulations that were put in place during the active crackdown on fraud throughout William Donaldson's watch.

Instead, Cox has cultivated relationships with state regulators, the Consumer Federation of America and business leaders, The Washington Post reports. As Cox himself puts it, "We're trying to go right down the center lane."

Certainly, there have been fewer public arguments between the commissioners than there were during Donaldson's time. All of the top jobs are now filled, except for the one overseeing stock markets. And under Cox, the SEC has come down on businesses by unanimously passing a measure to increase disclosure of executive pay, including stock options.

"Given where he is and where politics is, investors have had a pretty good year with him," said Damon A. Silvers, associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO.

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