U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White plans to step down around the same time President Barack Obama exits the Oval Office, the agency said on Monday.

Her departure will cap a nearly four-year tenure marked by regulatory and enforcement milestones, as well as internal discord over Wall Street rules. It also may leave a sharply understaffed and gridlocked commission in her wake.

With White's departure, the SEC will be left with only two commissioners, who often staunchly disagree with each other - Democrat Kara Stein and Republican Michael Piwowar.

Unless the U.S. Senate confirms two pending SEC nominees during the lame duck session, the 10th floor that is home to the commissioners at the SEC's Washington, D.C., headquarters could become a very lonely place come January.

Once White departs, Piwowar, as the sole Republican commissioner, will likely be designated by incoming President Donald Trump to serve as acting chairman until a permanent chairman is selected.

White, a former federal prosecutor and Wall Street defense lawyer in her pre-SEC days, said in a farewell interview with Reuters that she does not know what she will do next, though retirement is not an option.

Since she assumed her post as SEC chair in April 2013, White has presided over a record number of enforcement actions. They consisted of both big cases and smaller matters, often referred to as "broken windows" cases -a reference to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's strategy of policing minor offenses to deter bigger ones.

Among her most notable accomplishments were the institution of a policy requiring some companies to admit wrongdoing when they settle cases with the SEC, and new rules that upended money market mutual fund pricing and aim to reduce systemic risks by asset managers.

White, an independent, has often found herself caught in the crossfire between more partisan SEC commissioners who have not been able to agree on controversial rules.

As such, she has been unable to get some rules - such as a politically charged one requiring financial brokers to put their clients' first - across the finish line.

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