SEC Chair Mary Jo White denied Thursday the commission routinely grants “knee-jerk” waivers for misconduct by financial institutions and employees.
SEC Commissioner Kara Stein has repeatedly asserted the SEC is doing just that.
In defending the commission’s track record on waivers, White said denying a waiver request could amount to inappropriate additional punishment for a firm. 
She warned unjustifiable denial of waivers could delay relief to investors by delaying settlements.
White said no financial institutions are too big to jail or to bar from the securities business.
To achieve deterrence, she added, the SEC must aggressively try to break the mentality in the financial services industry that penalties are a cost of doing business.
“No one should think that there are any silver bullets,” White said.
Her remarks came in a speech at the Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C.