Lori Richards, Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, to Leave SEC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., July 8, 2009 — The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that Lori A. Richards, Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), plans to leave the agency after more than two decades of government service.
Ms. Richards has been the Director of OCIE since it was created by Chairman Arthur Levitt in May 1995. As its Director, Ms. Richards managed the SEC’s nationwide examination oversight programs for investment advisers, hedge fund managers, mutual funds, broker-dealers, clearing agencies, transfer agents, trading markets, self-regulatory organizations and credit rating agencies. She spearheaded numerous examination initiatives, including targeted examination sweeps focused on emerging compliance risks, as well as routine, cause, and other examination reviews of industry firms for compliance with the law.
Ms. Richards created a risk assessment function and program in OCIE, and led efforts to enhance the surveillance and oversight of SEC-registered firms. To foster stronger compliance in the securities industry, under her leadership OCIE created the CCOutreach program and issued ComplianceAlerts and numerous public reports describing compliance practices in the securities industry. She upgraded training for the SEC’s examiners and helped to improve the use of technology in the SEC’s oversight of the securities industry.
During her tenure, she helped the agency identify and address a wide range of compliance issues, including abusive trading by exchange specialists, shortcomings in credit rating agencies practices and disclosures, conflicts of interest by pension consultants, asset valuation problems, insider trading, sales of securities to seniors at “free lunch” seminars, soft dollars, gifts, gratuities and other undisclosed business arrangements, mutual funds’ payments for “shelf space” and many more issues.
Prior to becoming the Director of OCIE, Ms. Richards was Executive Assistant and Senior Adviser to Chairman Arthur Levitt on policy and legal matters affecting the SEC. Prior to that, she was Associate Regional Administrator for Enforcement in the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office, and held other positions in the SEC’s Enforcement Program in Los Angeles from 1985 through 1994.
“Lori is known widely for her passionate and tireless service to the agency,” SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said. “I’ve had the honor and privilege of knowing and working with Lori for many years, and have always appreciated her dedication, leadership and integrity. I respect her decision to leave the SEC and am grateful for her many years of public service.”
Ms. Richards said, “I’m honored to have been part of the SEC team, and to have had the opportunity to work for American investors. I’m enormously proud of the dedication and professionalism of the men and women in the SEC’s examination program across the country, and of the important work we did together. After 14 years leading the SEC’s exam corps and more than two decades at the SEC, I’ve decided to take on new challenges.”
Ms. Richards received Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service in 2001 (the highest civilian award in the federal government), and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service in 1997. She received the SEC’s Distinguished Service Award in 2008 (the SEC’s highest award), and the Irving Pollack Award in 1992. She has a J.D. from Washington College of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.
OCIE Associate Director-Chief Counsel John Walsh will serve as Acting Director of OCIE when Ms. Richards steps down on August 7. Mr. Walsh is a 20-year veteran of the SEC, including service in the Office of General Counsel, the Division of Enforcement, and as Special Counsel to Chairman Arthur Levitt. He has been a member of OCIE’s staff since its creation in 1995.
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