The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission should fund itself directly from industry fees to be able to invest more in technology and personnel, Chairman Mary Schapiro told the Financial Times on Wednesday.

Unlike other U.S. banking regulators such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and the Federal Reserve, the SEC cannot use the fees it receives without Congressional approval.

Self-funding has been discussed over the years but I think it may now well be the moment, Schapiro said quoted by the Financial Times. Some stability in funding would be an enormous benefit because it would help us with long-term planning in such areas as technology and staffing.

The SEC is expected to collect $1.3 billion in 2009, but has been authorized by the Congress to spend $960 million, the Financial Times said.

Next year, the regulator is seen collecting $1.5 billion in fees, but the government has asked for a budget of $1.03 billion, the newspaper said.

(Reporting by Juan Lagorio; editing by Carol Bishopric)