Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations:
Working @ OCIE
Former industry professional
I came to OCIE after 20 years on Wall Street both as a Sales Manager and Compliance Manager, because I wanted to move to a position where I could continue using the skills that I attained through my industry experience while learning new skills. Additionally, after gaining exposure to various positive and negative aspects of the industry, I wanted my next position to be one where I could work to ensure that the broker-dealer community becomes more compliant with the federal securities laws and that broker-dealers are treated even-handedly by the Commission.
I have found OCIE to be a fantastic job choice, because I utilize my industry knowledge and marry it with the laws that apply to the industry. Learning more about how the legal and regulatory aspects of the securities industry interrelate with the business side challenges me in new directions. I also have the opportunity to hear industry concerns, when I am involved with broker-dealer examinations, and work to make sure that these concerns are continuously voiced to the Commission.
Industry experience is truly valued in OCIE and plays an integral role. Thus, former traders, brokers and compliance professionals work alongside with attorneys and accountants on a daily basis. There is great camaraderie within OCIE; staff members learn from each other and the diversity of experiences within the office makes for great discourse regarding the industry and the regulatory environment. There are also promotion opportunities for former industry professionals within OCIE; within a year of being hired into OCIE, I was promoted to a branch chief position.
Former industry professional
I joined OCIE after working in the industry for five years in various capacities at a financial services firm in Boston. Working at the firm gave me a good background in the securities industry, but eventually I sought a more challenging opportunity and decided that public service was what I wanted to pursue. My position in OCIE gives me the opportunity to protect the interests of investors, which is a responsibility that I take very seriously.
During my tenure at the Commission, my supervisors have encouraged me to become involved in many different projects. One of the most rewarding aspects of these projects is the opportunity to perform various advanced methods of statistical and financial analysis. Whether I am analyzing the trading activity of brokerage firms, evaluating the fair-value pricing practices of mutual funds, or performing other technical analysis, I have been able to leverage my previously learned skills. Additionally, working with other professionals across the Commission has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about the industry from different perspectives.
Former Assistant District Attorney and financial industry counsel
My interest in joining OCIE was developed through my experiences as both an Assistant District Attorney in New York and as an attorney in a major broker-dealer’s Legal Department. Prior to joining OCIE, my legal experiences and training focused primarily on litigation. Although I enjoyed litigation, I wanted to pursue a different, yet challenging career direction and thought that OCIE provided the best opportunity to develop and enhance my professional skills and understanding of the securities industry.
Since joining OCIE, I have had the opportunity to work with smart and motivated people from various backgrounds, such as accountants, former traders and compliance professionals, and other attorneys from law firms and/or the industry. The nature of the work has varied as I have worked on projects involving mutual funds, capital markets, and SRO surveillance programs. Although I am no longer engaged in constant “battle” as a litigator, I utilize many of the skills I learned as a litigator on a daily basis. The work is challenging and rewarding, both personally and professionally.
Securities Compliance Examiner
College graduate with finance background
As my graduation from college drew closer, I began evaluating what I hoped to accomplish with my finance degree. At the time, I wanted to find a position that was more than just a job; I wanted a career. Working in OCIE has given me the opportunity to learn the investment advisor and investment company industries as a whole rather than learning one area or segment of the business, as has been the experience of many of my former colleagues in the private sector.
My position as a Securities Compliance Examiner has enabled me to gain a comprehensive understanding of funds and fund advisers down to their daily operations. I participate in examinations which allow me to interview both junior and senior firm representatives, analyze data and assess internal controls to ascertain whether a firm is complying with the federal securities laws. I also participate in special projects which allow me to gain an in-depth understanding of more specific and discrete aspects of the industry. Working in OCIE has enriched me with skills and knowledge that might otherwise take twelve years and four different jobs to acquire.
Recent law school graduate
I’ve been at OCIE for over a year now and would not trade the experience and knowledge I have gained for anything! The opportunities in OCIE have allowed me to build effective communication, strong research and writing skills, as well as general professional skills that are invaluable to a new attorney and sometimes difficult to build in private practice.
At the Commission, I have gained a great deal of substantive knowledge about the federal securities laws and the securities industry in general. I have found my peers to be knowledgeable, experienced, and willing to share their expertise with all modesty. Aside from acquiring substantive knowledge, I have also had the chance to grow as a professional. After only a few months on the job, I was given the responsibility to lead a project where I managed five staff members; I also had the opportunity to lead interviews (which are similar to depositions, except not on the record) at on-site inspections. Furthermore, I was interacting on a daily basis with the general counsels of some of the Exchanges, heads of compliance at broker-dealers, and senior partners at major law firms. Although I was charged with a great deal of independence and responsibility with respect to developing my work product, my supervisors were approachable for assistance and guidance. I am amazed and appreciative of the fact that OCIE has given me more responsibility than the respective employers of many of my law school peers.
Pacific Regional Office
Former private sector attorney and industry professional
Prior to joining the SEC, I worked in the private sector as an attorney in New York City. Initially, I enjoyed working in the fast paced environment that New York offered. However, I eventually decided to change careers and took an analyst position with a small firm in Washington, D.C. I had always wanted to work in the securities industry and this job afforded me the opportunity to do so. After some time, I started to miss practicing law. I finally realized that I needed to find a job that incorporated both my interest in practicing law and working in the securities industry.
At the Commission, I learned more in one year about the securities industry and the laws that regulate it than I did the previous five years. I was afforded exposure to all the facets of the securities industry. The SEC also allowed me to learn hands on by giving me responsibility from the start. Additionally, my supervisors at the Pacific Regional Office allowed me to make critical decisions and take ownership for those decisions. Importantly, the SEC also promotes the importance of a balanced lifestyle.
Assistant Regional Director
Central Regional Office
Former Accounting Industry Professional
I came to the Commission after 12 years in public accounting. I wanted something with more meaning and challenge than what I was doing, which was conducting the same audits and preparing the same tax returns year after year. The Commission delivered. During one of my first broker-dealer examinations I found that the firm had falsified its books and records and had violated most of the financial responsibility rules. Subsequently, I worked closely with our Enforcement staff during the preparation of its administrative proceeding against this firm and its management, which was settled on our terms. I was also fortunate in the early stage of my career with the Commission to be part of teams that examined most major Wall Street broker-dealers, as well as firms where major misappropriations had occurred. Many of our examination findings resulted in high profile Enforcement cases and were discussed in at least two books. Public accounting was nothing like this.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of my job is being able to effect some positive changes for the investing public, as well as needed changes for the brokerage industry and for certain broker-dealers. I have also been fortunate to work closely with many professionals at the Commission, the New York Stock Exchange, and the NASD. I appreciate the rapid advancement opportunities and the many benefits that the Commission has afforded me.
Securities Compliance Examiner
NorthEast Regional Office
Examiner with five years experience:
As an examiner in the SEC’s broker-dealer inspection program, I have had the opportunity to work on several high priority examinations, including numerous sweeps focusing on current industry practices. I have examined firms ranging in size from thousands of employees to five-man offices. One examination I conducted uncovered a $1 million fraudulent private placement offering scheme, in which both the president of the unregistered entity and a registered representative involved in the fraud were indicted and convicted. Another examination I worked on uncovered a $10 million Ponzi scheme in which an unregistered entity deceived investors as to the source of their dividends. During these examinations, and others conducted throughout my employment, I have worked collaboratively with numerous other agencies, including the NASD, NYSE, FBI, New York State Office of the Comptroller, and the United States Attorney’s Office.
The SEC community is one that fosters knowledge and information sharing among its many offices and divisions. To that end, I have received training both from current SEC colleagues who have become specialists on certain topics, as well as members of the financial industry willing to share their expertise with the SEC. I have had the fortune of working with and learning from some of the most forward-thinking and proactive people. Despite working at the SEC for over five years, I continue to gain knowledge with each new examination. Because of the ever-changing nature of the financial industry, the SEC is a place where employees are encouraged to “think outside the box” and identify current industry risks and trends. As a member of the SEC’s broker-dealer inspection staff, I feel that the work I contribute benefits both the industry and the investing public.