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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Has Clayton Picked the SEC's Top Cops?

News summary by MFWire's editors

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may soon have two top cops, one familiar to the agency and one familiar to the new chief. Fundsters, stay tuned.

Stephanie Avakian
Acting co-director
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton is about to pick Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin to be co-directors of the regulatory agency's enforcement division, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and the New York Times. Clayton took over as SEC chair at the beginning of May.

If Clayton picks them, Avakian and Peikin would be filling the shoes vacated by Andrew Ceresney at the end of 2016. Ceresney, who served as SEC enforcement director under then-chair Mary Jo White, rejoined Debevoise & Plimpton in January.

Avakian, an SEC veteran, currently serves as acting director of the SEC's enforcement division. She rose to that spot in December after serving as the division's deputy director since joining the regulatory agency in June 2014. She previously was a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, yet prior to that she worked in the New York branch of the SEC's enforcement division and as a counsel to an SEC commission. She is an alumna of the College of New Jersey and of Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

Steve Peikin
Sullivan & Cromwell
Managing partner
Peikin currently serves as a managing partner of the criminal defense and investigations group at Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm that Clayton worked at before joining the SEC. And Peikin, though new to the SEC, is not new to the federal government. He previously spent eight years as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He is an alumnus of both Harvard Law and Yale.

"He has a lot of experience and encyclopedic knowledge of the securities laws, and I think he's going to be aggressive and tough without being unhinged," Aitan Goelman, who once worked alongside Peikin as a federal prosecutor, tells the WSJ.

As for Avakian, the WSJ writes that she "is viewed by SEC staff attorneys as a strong manager who would provide continuity and understanding of SEC procedures that Mr. Peikin lacks, since he has never worked at the agency." 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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