A looming federal government shutdown could hobble the government's ability to enforce securities laws, the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday.

Speaking at a conference of business journalists, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro also said the agency is in the early stages of examining its rules governing share issuances by privately traded companies.

The SEC's review could result in privately traded companies being able to stay private without running afoul of securities laws.

(Reporting by Chris Baltimore, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)