National Seminar Speaker Bios*
Nov. 8, 2022
Compliance Outreach Program
(For Investment Adviser and Investment Company Senior Officers)
November 15, 2022
Welcoming Remarks from SEC Directors
SEC Chair Gary Gensler
Gary Gensler was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden to serve as Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) on February 3, 2021, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 14, 2021, and sworn into office on April 17, 2021.
Gensler was professor of the Practice of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, co-director of MIT’s Fintech@CSAIL, and senior advisor to the MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative. From 2017-2019, he served as chair of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission.
Gensler was formerly chair of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, leading the Obama Administration’s reform of the $400 trillion swaps market. He also was senior advisor to U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes in writing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (2002), and was undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance and assistant secretary of the Treasury from 1997-2001.
SEC Directors Panel
Richard Best is the Director of the SEC’s Division of Examinations. Until March 2022, Mr. Best was the Director of the SEC's New York Regional Office. He previously served as the Director of the Atlanta and Salt Lake City Regional Offices. Prior to joining the SEC in 2015, Mr. Best held supervisory, litigation, and investigative positions at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. He also spent approximately 10 years as a prosecutor in the Office of the Bronx County District Attorney, where he handled and supervised high-profile public integrity and organized crime prosecutions, among other matters. Mr. Best received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York, College of Old Westbury, and a law degree from Howard University School of Law.
William Birdthistle is the Director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. He leads the development of policy and rulemaking relating to investment advisers and investment companies.
Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Birdthistle joined the faculty at Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2006, and he earned the school’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. He also has served as a visitingprofessor of law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he won the Award for Teaching Excellence in 2019 for teaching securities regulation. His research explores investment funds, securities regulation, and corporate governance, and he has served as counsel of record on multiple amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Birdthistle received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Harvard Law Review, and received a B.A. summa cum laude in English and psychology from Duke University in 1995.
Gurbir Grewal is the Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. Immediately before joining the Commission, he was the Attorney General for the State of New Jersey. Prior to that, he served as the Bergen County Prosecutor, the chief law enforcement officer for New Jersey’s most populous county. Earlier in his career, Mr. Grewal served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, where he was Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit, and an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where he was assigned to the Business and Securities Fraud Unit. He also was an attorney in private practice. Mr. Grewal holds a J.D. from the College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, and a B.S. in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
Panel I: Fiduciary Interpretation and Form CRS
Elena Ro (Moderator)
Elena Ro is an Associate Regional Director for the Division of Examinations in the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office. She joined the Commission in 2002 as a Staff Attorney in the Division of Enforcement, and a few years later joined Enforcement’s Market Abuse Unit, which focuses on complex insider trading, market manipulation schemes, market structure, and cyber-related trading schemes and abusive practices. In 2014, she moved to the Assistant Regional Director, Operations role in the San Francisco Regional Office until joining the Examinations team in 2022. Before joining the Commission, Ms. Ro was a litigation associate with Latham and Watkins. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. from Yale University.
Kris Easter Guidroz is a vice president of T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc. She is a managing legal counsel and Head of North America Institutional Compliance in the firm’s Legal, Compliance and Audit Department. Kris leads a team of attorneys and compliance professionals that advise on compliance matters related to institutional advisory services and client relationships, product development, and institutional and intermediary sales. Before joining T. Rowe Price, she worked in various offices and divisions of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Division of Investment Management and the Division of Examinations (formerly the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE)). As an Assistant Director in OCIE’s Chief Counsel’s Office, Kris played a key role in several regulatory initiatives including the Dodd-Frank legislation and follow-up rules, setting examination policy, developing a new internal compliance function, and providing legal and policy advice to staff in the SEC’s national examination program. She also worked in the financial services group of a large law firm, where she counseled financial institutions on their regulatory and compliance obligations under the federal securities and commodities laws adopted or amended following the 2008 financial crisis.
Aaron Ellias is a Senior Counsel in the Chief Counsel’s Office of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. Prior to joining the SEC in 2021, Mr. Ellias was a partner in the investment funds group at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and an associate in the investment management group at K&L Gates LLP. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Donna Esau is the Associate Regional Director of the Atlanta Regional Office’s Examination Program. Ms. Esau joined the Commission in 1996 as a Securities Compliance Examiner and was subsequently promoted to a Branch Chief. In 2008 she was promoted to Assistant Regional Director and relocated to the Fort Worth Regional Office. In 2011, she returned to the ARO as an Assistant Regional Director and in 2015 she transferred to the National Exam Program as a Sr. Policy Adviser where she worked on national initiatives and training. She was promoted to the Associate Director role in 2017. Ms. Esau graduated cum laude with a degree in Business from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and received her Master in Accounting from Kennesaw State University. She is a certified public accountant licensed in Georgia.
Corey Schuster is Co-Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit, a national specialized unit that focuses on misconduct by investment advisers, investment companies, and private funds. Mr. Schuster began at the SEC as an Enforcement staff attorney in 2010 and became an Assistant Director in 2016. Mr. Schuster joined the SEC from the law firms of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP and Dickstein Shapiro LLP in Washington, D.C., where he practiced in those firms’ Securities Litigation, Regulatory, and Compliance practice groups, and he previously served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Schuster received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Vanderbilt University.
Panel II: New Marketing Rule
Vanessa Horton (Moderator)
Vanessa L. Horton is the Associate Regional Director in the IA/IC examination Program in Chicago where she manages teams that examine investment advisers, investment companies, and private funds. Prior to joining the SEC, Vanessa spent over 13 years in the private sector where she most recently served as the Chief Compliance Officer to a dually registered broker-dealer and investment adviser. Vanessa’s background is specifically in trading, operations, and compliance. Vanessa has held several FINRA securities licenses including the Series 7, 24, 55, 65, and 63 and the Certified Fraud Examiner designation. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies School of Business for undergraduate studies and DePaul University in Chicago for graduate studies. In addition to her specialized industry experience, Vanessa participates in multiple national examination program and Commission-wide initiatives including acting as a subject matter expert in the SEC’s National Exam Training program, Professional Development Co-Chair, People Advisory Committee Co-Chair, Executive Committee, the Diversity Council, and the Private Fund Special Working Group, among others.
Robert Baker is an Assistant Director in the Asset Management Unit at the Commission’s Boston Regional Office. Prior to joining the SEC in 2007, Robert was a litigation associate at Bingham McCutchen LLP in Boston, MA. Mr. Baker is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and Harvard Law School and is a CFA Charterholder.
Steven Felsenthal is Principal, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Millburn Ridgefield Corporation, a Registered Investment Adviser, Commodity Pool Operator, Commodity Trading Advisor and Broker/Dealer, and its US and international affiliates. He focuses on all legal and compliance issues relating to the firm’s operations. Prior to joining Millburn in January 2004, Mr. Felsenthal was an associate in the investment management group of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (October 1999-January 2004), where he represented and advised hedge funds, registered investment companies, investment advisers, broker-dealers and banks in connection with all facets of their asset management businesses, and a member of the tax department of Kramer Levin (October 1996-September 1999). He graduated cum laude from Yeshiva University in 1991 with a B.A. in political science, and order of the coif from Fordham University School of Law in 1996, where he also served as an editor of the Fordham Environmental Law Journal. Mr. Felsenthal received an LL.M degree in taxation from NYU School of Law in 2001 and has written and been quoted in numerous published articles, and frequently speaks at conferences, on various topics related to investment management. Mr. Felsenthal is a member of the New York State Bar (since August 1997), a member of NFA’s Compliance and Risk Committee (since May 2014), a member of MFA’s CTA, CPO and Futures Committee, serving as Chair (April 2018 to February 2020) and Vice Chair (February 2017 to April 2018), a former member of the Steering Committee of MFA’s Chief Compliance Officer Forum (June 2014 to December 2015), former Chairman of MFA’s CPO/CTA Advisory Committee (November 2006 to June 2010) and former Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee of MFA’s CPO/CTA Forum (June 2010 to January 2013), and is currently a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Securities Operations & Custody (formerly known as the Journal of Securities Law, Regulation and Compliance) (since February 2007) and the Journal of Financial Compliance (since August 2017). He was also recognized by Institutional Investor as one of its 20 Rising Stars in September 2006.
Chris Mulligan currently serves as the adviser/Private Funds Senior Advisor and co-coordinator of the Private Funds Specialized Working Group in the SEC’s Division of Examinations. Chris trains exam staff and implements new investment adviser rules, including the Marketing Rule. Chris has drafted numerous investment adviser Risk Alerts, including the only two Risk Alerts on private fund advisers. He also helps develop rulemakings impacting investment advisers, counsels examiners on legal issues and enforcement referrals, conducts exams, trains staff and develops exam initiatives and priorities related to private fund advisers. Before joining the SEC, Chris was in private practice counseling private equity advisers and institutional investors with respect to fund formation and regulatory issues. Chris earned his J.D. from Georgetown Law.
Christine Ayako Schleppegrell serves as Acting Branch Chief of the Private Funds Branch at the SEC in Washington, D.C. She advises on policy matters and counsels staff of the Divisions of Enforcement and Examinations. Previously, Ms. Schleppegrell worked as an attorney in private practice in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California. She is an adjunct professor for the Fordham Law Corporate Compliance Program and serves as Chair of the 100 Women in Finance D.C. Chapter. Ms. Schleppegrell earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law and completed her undergraduate studies at Vassar College and Oxford University.
Panel III: Registered Funds Topics
Maurya Keating (Moderator)
Maurya Crawford Keating is an Associate Regional Director in the New York Regional Office of the SEC. She joined the SEC’s Division of Examinations in 2018 as co-head of the NYRO Investment Adviser/ Investment Company unit, and is also serving as co-acting Regional Director since June 2022.
Before joining the SEC, she was a Lead Director and Associate General Counsel in the National Compliance Office of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. Her work for AXA Equitable included advising on a wide range of securities, insurance and investment advisory compliance, product and distribution issues, including international legal and compliance issues associated with AXA Equitable’s affiliation with AXA Group, a global financial services organization. Maurya was also Vice President, Chief Broker-Dealer Counsel & Investment Advisor Chief Compliance Officer of AXA Advisors, LLC, a full-service broker-dealer and investment adviser. Prior to AXA Equitable, she was an Associate General Counsel at New York Life Insurance Company and Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.
Maurya received her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, and her B.A. and M.A. from The Catholic University of America. She is admitted to practice as an attorney in New York state, and is on the Roll of Solicitors of the Law Society of England & Wales.
Chris Carlson is a Senior Counsel in the Division of Investment Management’s Chief Counsel’s Office (CCO). CCO issues no-action letters and interpretive guidance under the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and other federal securities laws that affect the asset management industry. CCO also reviews applications requesting exemptive orders under the two Acts. Before Mr. Carlson joined CCO in September 2021, he was a counsel at Seward & Kissel LLP and Thompson Hine LLP in Washington, DC. Mr. Carlson started his career as an associate at Dechert LLP in Washington, DC, and later served as in-house counsel at two asset management firms, most recently as Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, before moving back to private practice. He earned his B.A. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America and his J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, where he was a member of the Public Contracts Law Journal.
Andrew Dean is Co-Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit, a national specialized unit that focuses on misconduct by investment advisers, investment companies, and private funds. Mr. Dean, who is based in the New York Regional Office, joined the SEC as an Enforcement staff attorney in 2012 and became an Assistant Director in 2020. Prior to becoming an Assistant Director, Mr. Dean served as counsel to the New York Regional Director and worked on numerous complex investigations, including an industry-wide fraud investigation leading to settlements with fifteen financial institutions. Before joining the SEC, Mr. Dean practiced law at Wiggin and Dana LLP from 2007-2012 and at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP from 2002 to 2007. Mr. Dean also served as a law clerk to Judge Leonard B. Sand in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School and B.A. from Fordham University.
Craig Ellis is an Examination Manager in the SEC’s Division of Examinations. Mr. Ellis joined the Commission in 2003 and has worked in the Denver Regional Office and Fort Worth Regional Office, focusing on investment adviser and investment company examinations. Mr. Ellis received a Master of Professional Accountancy degree from Brigham Young University and a B.S. Accounting degree from Weber State University.
Francine Rosenberger is the Chief Compliance Officer of the Transamerica Funds and Transamerica Asset Management, Inc. Prior to Ms. Rosenberger joining Transamerica in 2019, she was the General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Fund Chief Compliance Officer at Steben & Company, a registered investment adviser, broker-dealer, and commodity pool operator that sponsored mutual funds, closed-end funds, hedge funds and commodity pools. Prior to that, Ms. Rosenberger was a Partner in K&L Gates’s Investment Management practice where she specialized in advising clients on the formation, structuring and operation of investment companies, ETFs, and commodity pools, as well as investment advisory matters, the development of compliance programs, compliance audits, and advising mutual fund boards on fund governance and regulatory matters. Ms. Rosenberger graduated with a degree in International Relations and Business Administration from Juniata College and received her law degree magna cum laude from Catholic University of America, where she was Managing Editor of the Catholic University Law Review.
Panel IV: Environmental, Social, and Governance-Related Topics
Cindy Eson (Moderator)
Cindy Eson is the Associate Regional Director of the SEC’s Division of Examinations in the Los Angeles Regional Office. Ms. Eson joined the Commission as a Staff Attorney in the Division of Enforcement in the Miami Regional Office in 1995, where she was promoted to Branch Chief. In 2001, she joined the Los Angeles Regional Office, where she served in a variety of Enforcement positions before becoming an Assistant Regional Director in the former Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations in 2013. In 2022, she became Associate Regional Director. Ms. Eson graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Miami and received her law degree magna cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law, where she was an Articles and Comments Editor on the University of Miami Law Review.
John Boese serves as Chief Compliance Officer (North America) for Impax Asset Management LLC, Impax Asset Management Ltd and Impax Asset Management (AIFM) Ltd. Prior to joining Impax in 2006, John served as Vice President of Legal and Compliance and then Vice President and Chief Regulatory Officer at the Boston Stock Exchange in Boston, Massachusetts, from 2000-2006. Before that, he held various legal and compliance positions at T. Rowe Price and Chase Bank. He also served as an Assistant Prosecutor for Monmouth County, New Jersey, from 1988 to 1990.
John earned his Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School and his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Rutgers University. He is a member of the New Jersey Bar.
Sara Cortes is Senior Special Counsel for the Rulemaking Office in the Division of Investment Management. Sara has served various roles in the Division since 2013 and has worked at the SEC since 2009.
Kimberly L. Frederick is an Assistant Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Asset Management Unit. She is located in the SEC’s Denver Regional Office. Before joining the SEC, Ms. Frederick was a litigation associate in New York and Colorado. Ms. Frederick received her J.D. degree, with high honors, from The George Washington University Law School and her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is a member of the Colorado and New York State Bar.
Andy Sohrn is an exam manager in the Los Angeles office of the Division of Examinations. He joined the Commission in 2012 as an attorney-adviser, prior to which he specialized in securities litigation in private practice. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in Economics and Mathematics and earned his law degree from UCLA.
Panel V: Private Fund Adviser Topics
Kevin Kelcourse (Moderator)
Kevin Kelcourse is the Associate Director for the Division of Examinations at the Commission's Boston Regional Office, where he leads a staff of over 70 who conduct inspections and examinations of investment advisers, investment companies, hedge funds, private equity funds, broker-dealers, municipal advisers, transfer agents, and other securities firms in New England. He is also currently serving as Acting Co-Regional Director for the Boston Regional Office. Before becoming Associate Director in November 2014, Kevin worked for the Commission’s Division of Enforcement for over 15 years, the last four and a half as an Assistant Director in the Division’s Asset Management Unit, where he investigated and litigated various matters involving violations or potential violations of federal securities laws. During his 23+ years at the SEC, he has worked on a wide variety of matters, including hedge funds, mutual funds, investment advisers, insider trading, financial fraud, offering frauds, and municipal securities.
Matthew Harris is Assistant Director and Co-Head of the SEC’s Private Funds Unit (PFU) within the Division of Examinations, the SEC’s specialized unit dedicated to examining advisers to private funds. Mr. Harris was previously an Exam Manager in the PFU and the Chicago Regional Office, where he joined as a Securities Compliance Examiner in 2002. Mr. Harris received the Shannon Ayers Examination Award of Excellence in 2016 as part of the PFU for significant contributions to the SEC’s efforts to enhance compliance and protect investors. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Wheaton College and is a CFA® charterholder.
Tom Strumpf is a senior counsel in the Private Funds Branch of the Investment Adviser Regulation Office, a unit of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the SEC, Tom was a partner in Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s investment funds group, where he advised private funds and their sponsors on formation and regulatory matters. He was previously an associate in the investment management group of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. Prior to his work in private practice, Tom served as a law clerk for the Honorable Michael J. Melloy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. from Loras College.
Nikolay V. Vydashenko is an Assistant Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, based in the Fort Worth Regional Office. Mr. Vydashenko supervises investigations into potential violations of the securities laws, including accounting and financial fraud, insider trading, and offering fraud. As a member of the Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit, he also supervises investigations concerning the conduct of investment advisers. Previously, Nikolay served as Senior Trial Counsel and as a staff attorney in the Fort Worth Regional Office. In addition to government service, Mr. Vydashenko also has worked in-house as Deputy General Counsel of a growth-stage financial services firm. Mr. Vydashenko began his career as a litigation associate in the New York office of Vinson & Elkins LLP. He earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Mr. Weisman joined Bain Capital in 2016. He is a Managing Director and the Firm’s Global Chief Compliance Officer based in Bain Capital’s Boston office. Prior to joining Bain Capital, he was a Managing Director in the Financial Services Regulatory Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Before that, Mr. Weisman served for 11 years at the SEC, including as an Assistant Director in the Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit from its founding in 2010 through 2013.
Panel VI: Hot Topics Lightning Round
Lou Gracia (Moderator)
Louis Gracia is an Associate Regional Director in the Investment Adviser – Investment Company Examination Program in the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office. Lou has been with the SEC for over 28 years during which time he has held several positions including Securities Compliance Examiner, Branch Chief and Assistant Regional Director. Lou has led and supervised numerous examinations of investment advisory firms and mutual fund complexes. Lou has spoken at several previous SEC Compliance Outreach events, NASAA conferences, NSCP conferences, IAA workshops and National Examination Program training courses. Lou has also represented the SEC at numerous staff recruitment and investor outreach events. Lou holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He currently holds a CPA license in the state of Illinois and the CFE designation.
Nadia Brannon is an examiner in the San Francisco Regional Office of the SEC. She co-lead the Digital Assets Advanced Technology Specialized Working Group of the Division of Examinations as well as the EXAMS Crypto Lab. Ms. Brannon focuses on examinations of investment advisers and investment companies.
Virginia Kostka is a Staff Accountant in the SEC’s Division of Examinations having joined the Commission in May of 2021. Before joining the Commission, Ms. Kostka was an internal audit manager at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Ms. Kostka was also a compliance supervisor at the National Futures Association and started her career as an external auditor, focusing on broker-dealer and investment management clients, at Deloitte. Ms. Kostka received her BBA, with degrees in Accounting and Economics, from Loyola University Chicago. She is licensed as a certified public accountant and is a certified fraud examiner.
Luisa Lewis is an Attorney Adviser in the Investment Adviser/Investment Company examination program in the SEC’s Division of Examinations. Prior to joining the SEC, Ms. Lewis was an associate in the Chicago and New York offices of Vedder Price P.C. where she counseled registered investment companies and the independent board members of registered investment companies on regulatory, compliance, governance and transactional matters arising under federal securities laws. Ms. Lewis received her B.A. from Butler University and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Nicholas Madsen is an Assistant Regional Director for the investment adviser and investment company examination program in SEC’s Denver Regional Office. Mr. Madsen joined the Commission in 2003, initially serving as a Staff Accountant for the broker-dealer examination program in the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office, then transitioning to the same role in the in the Denver Regional Office’s investment adviser and investment company examination program. In 2010, Mr. Madsen became an Examination Manager in the Denver Regional before moving into his current position in 2014. He graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse College of Business Administration in 2003, majoring in finance and minoring in accounting; and he became a CPA in Illinois (current status inactive) in 2006. Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Madsen worked at a branch office of A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.
Chris Mulligan currently serves as the adviser/Private Funds Senior Advisor and co-coordinator of the Private Funds Specialized Working Group in the Division of Examinations. Chris trains exam staff and implements new investment adviser rules, including the Marketing Rule. Chris has drafted numerous investment adviser Risk Alerts, including the only two Risk Alerts on private fund advisers. He also helps develop rulemakings impacting investment advisers, counsels examiners on legal issues and enforcement referrals, conducts exams, trains staff and develops exam initiatives and priorities related to private fund advisers. Before joining the SEC, Chris was in private practice counseling private equity advisers and institutional investors with respect to fund formation and regulatory issues. Chris earned his J.D. from Georgetown Law.
Joe Murphy is an Attorney Adviser in the Division of Examinations’ Office of Chief Counsel. Prior to joining the Division of Examinations, he was a Paralegal in the Division of Enforcement’s Trial Unit. Before joining the SEC, Joe worked for two law firms and the U.S. Department of Justice. He received his law degree from The George Washington University Law School and a B.A. in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland College Park.
Carolyn O’Brien is a senior staff accountant in the Division of Examinations’ National Examination Program Office (NEPO). Ms. O’Brien has been with the Commission since 1999 and, prior to joining NEPO in 2015, was an exam manager in the Boston Regional Office. Ms. O’Brien is a member of EXAM’s Advanced Technology Specialized Working Group and has been actively involved in conducting, supervising, or assisting with examinations of advisers providing automated investment advice for over a decade. Ms. O’Brien joined the SEC with more than 10 years of financial industry experience and, in 2020, served as the Acting Assistant Director of Asset Management in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of CARES Operations, where she helped to stand up the office tasked with implementing certain provisions of the CARES Act and administered over $30 billion of airline industry taxpayer protection instruments. Ms. O’Brien graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Business Administration/Finance from the University of Lowell and earned her M.S. in Finance from Bentley College. She also is a Certified Financial Planner®.
Zachary Sturges is a Senior Counsel in the Division of Enforcement’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit. Mr. Sturges joined the Commission in 2007 as a Staff Attorney, moved to the Asset Management Unit in 2010, and became a member of the Complex Financial Instruments Unit in 2019. Mr. Sturges graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and received his law degree from the N.Y.U. School of Law.
Richard Best is the Director of the SEC’s Division of Examinations. Until March 2022, he was the Director of the SEC's New York Regional Office. He previously served as the Director of the Atlanta and Salt Lake City Regional Offices. Prior to joining the SEC in 2015, Mr. Best held supervisory, litigation, and investigative positions at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. He also spent approximately 10 years as a prosecutor in the Office of the Bronx County District Attorney, where he handled and supervised high-profile public integrity and organized crime prosecutions, among other matters. Mr. Best received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York, College of Old Westbury, and a law degree from Howard University School of Law.
* Sponsored by the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, Division of Investment Management and Division of Enforcement