Director of International Affairs Ethiopis Tafara to Leave SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Ethiopis Tafara, Director of the SEC's Office of International Affairs, will leave the agency at the end of next month after 13 years of public service.
The SEC's Office of International Affairs (OIA) advises the Commission on cross-border enforcement and regulatory matters, and engages in regulatory dialogues with authorities outside the U.S. Mr. Tafara joined the SEC staff in 2000 and has served as Director of OIA for the past 10 years. He successfully restructured the office to cover matters beyond the traditional areas of enforcement cooperation and development of international principles. For example, OIA now engages in comparative regulation and supervisory cooperation, and has expanded the size and scope of its technical assistance program to provide greater training to foreign authorities around the world than ever before.
"Ethiopis has gained a well-deserved reputation around the globe as a dedicated ambassador of investor protection," said SEC Chairman Elisse B. Walter. "His effective leadership was characterized by his dedicated efforts to achieve a better understanding globally of common regulatory concerns and approaches as a means of reaching solutions with compatibility across borders. Ethiopis's vision together with his diplomacy and drive has been a significant component in raising standards of international cooperation and regulation to levels that would have been unthought of before his SEC tenure."
Mr. Tafara said, "Cross-border cooperation has become essential to the SEC's work in protecting investors and facilitating capital-raising in the U.S. and across the globe. I have been privileged to spend the last 13 years promoting international cooperation along with OIA's deeply talented and committed staff. Their creativity, diplomacy, and enthusiasm are matched only by the depth of my gratitude to them. I wish to express my appreciation for the leadership and support of the Chairmen and Commissioners under whom I served. I also thank all of my SEC colleagues for their collaboration and camaraderie, as well as my colleagues around the world for their teamwork and friendship."UK Financial Services Authority Japanese Financial Services Authority Committee of European Securities Regulators Securities and Exchange Board of India China Securities Regulatory Commission Turkish Capital Markets Board
Mr. Tafara is one of the architects of the IFRS Monitoring Board that oversees the IFRS Foundation, which in turn is charged with safeguarding the due process of the International Accounting Standards Board. He served as staff chair of the IOSCO Task Force that crafted IOSCO Credit Rating Agency Principles and Code of Conduct in 2003 and 2004 (later established as the international standard for CRA oversight by the G-20) and chaired the reconstituted Task Force when it revised the standards in 2008. He chaired the IOSCO Task Force that developed Principles for Supervisory Cooperation and the related model MOU. He was staff chair of the IOSCO Task Force that developed IOSCO's Report on Strengthening Capital Markets Against Financial Fraud following the Enron and Parmalat financial frauds, and the Task Force that developed IOSCO's Report on Audit Services focusing on auditor transparency, governance, and communications. Mr. Tafara also was the principal author of the IOSCO Joint and Parallel Investigations Guide.
Under Mr. Tafara's leadership, OIA saw a significant expansion of international enforcement assistance fueled by its effort to extend the SEC's network of enforcement partners through participation in the International Organization of Securities Commissions' Screening Group for accession to the IOSCO Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding of the International Organization of Securities Commissions. OIA now handles more than 1,000 requests to or from foreign authorities each year. Mr. Tafara's pursuit of partnerships with non-securities regulatory counterparts including criminal authorities and financial intelligence units also contributed to this growth. OIA has extended the frontier of cooperation to facilitate cross-border asset freezes and the repatriation of ill-gotten gains, such as the return to the U.S. of $230 million held in an offshore account by a hedge fund involved in an enforcement matter, and the repatriation of $15 million from overseas in another enforcement case.
As an outgrowth of the increasingly global nature of the U.S. capital markets, Mr. Tafara also formed a special section within OIA that specifically monitors legal and regulatory developments abroad. OIA advises the Commission on the effects these developments may have in the U.S., and also analyzes the potential impact U.S. regulatory changes might have on foreign markets. This focus on comparative regulation during Mr. Tafara's tenure led to a pilot mutual recognition arrangement with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission based on the concept of substituted compliance developed in a law review article he co-wrote. Mr. Tafara also has taken a leadership role for the SEC in the OTC Derivatives Regulators Group that is working to resolve the cross-border issues in the regulation of the OTC derivatives market by drawing on the concept of substituted compliance.
Mr. Tafara expanded and refined the SEC's technical assistance program to transform it into a premier training and support program for capacity building with foreign regulatory and law enforcement counterparts. The number of foreign officials attending these training programs has increased dramatically along with the number, scope, and specialization of the programs. The technical assistance program expanded geographically with increased efforts in Africa and the Americas. The bridges formed with regulatory counterparts abroad has facilitated and complemented the SEC's cross-border enforcement and supervisory efforts while contributing to the efficiency of capital formation in emerging markets.
Mr. Tafara received the SEC's esteemed Chairman's Award for Excellence in 2008. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the IOSCO Board and Chairman of the PIOB Monitoring Group. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, a Certificate of Attendance from The Hague Academy of International Law, and his A.B. from Princeton University.
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The SEC also announced today that Dr. Robert Fisher, a Deputy Director in OIA, will become Acting Director upon Mr. Tafara's departure.
Dr. Fisher joined the SEC staff in 2002 as a financial economist in the Office of Economic Analysis. He later became an Assistant Director in the Office of International Affairs and was primarily responsible for the SEC's international technical assistance program for emerging and recently-emerged markets. Dr. Fisher was elevated to a Deputy Director position in January 2012.
Dr. Fisher holds a Ph. D and A.B. in Economics from Duke University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.