Protectors of individual investors

Meet four advocates, including former CFTC chairperson Brooksley Born, who have worked to protect investors and the financial system from misconduct.

The regulator who saw danger
The regulator who saw danger
Brooksley Born, former chairperson, Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Why she's a hero: Well before things got ugly, Born saw the risks of complex Wall Street bets known as derivatives.

As head of the CFTC in the 1990s, Born, a former corporate lawyer, argued that they needed to be regulated. Alas, she was shouted down by others in the Clinton administration, and Congress in 1998 barred the CFTC from any oversight role. Born resigned, and in 2008 derivatives gone bad turned out to be a root cause of the financial crisis.

Her current passion: Born, 71, advocates for financial reform and compiles oral histories of prominent women attorneys.

"They're pioneers," she says, "who opened new economic opportunities for women."

Says Born: "Financial firms have been lobbying to block full implementation of reforms to the nation's financial system that became law in 2010. Without those reforms, we are at risk of another crisis."

By Penelope Wang and Joan Caplin @Money - Last updated July 11 2012: 12:39 PM ET
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