Statement on Bob Stebbins Concluding His Tenure at SEC
Dec. 8, 2020
The SEC’s General Counsel, Bob Stebbins, today announced he will conclude his tenure at the agency in early January.
We have been fortunate to rely on and benefit from Bob’s wise counsel and leadership of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) from the beginning of my term. The scope of work that Bob and his OGC team take on each and every day is remarkable. The critical role of OGC extends to almost every aspect of the Commission’s operations. Bob’s extensive knowledge and practical experience with our securities laws, combined with his temperament and leadership abilities, enabled the OGC team to carry out its role efficiently and to great effect, including in the face of significant challenges.
Notably, in recent years, the Commission has had to adjust to various judicially-imposed limitations on its authority, specifically the Kokesh, Liu, and Lucia decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court. Bob and his OGC colleagues skillfully shepherded the Commission through these hurdles, allowing the Commission to continue effectively executing its mission within the bounds of the Court’s decisions.
Additionally, Bob and his team solidified OGC presence in the SEC’s enforcement process, which brought additional rigor and strength to the program and, by extension, furthered our efforts to protect investors and markets. The advice of Bob and his team has been indispensable as the Commission tackled complex matters with an eye toward imposing prompt remedies that would both deter future misconduct and compensate harmed investors. I could always rely on Bob for an accurate, complete and no-nonsense evaluation of the issue at hand, and this allowed the Commission to move forward confidently and quickly. OGC’s efforts were instrumental in allowing the Commission to bring over 2,750 enforcement actions and obtain over $14 billion in disgorgement and penalties, with approximately $3.5 billion returned to harmed investors, since May 2017.
Bob also led OGC through one of the most active and productive rulemaking periods in the agency’s history, advising on various consequential matters, including more than 85 rules, hundreds of Commission and staff orders and other interpretive releases. These rulemakings covered a wide range of topics and legal considerations, in many cases requiring the application of substantive and procedural requirements to new circumstances as we sought to modernize dozens of rules that had not been updated in decades. These modernization efforts could not have been accomplished without the combination of Bob’s legal acumen and his ability to lead a team, encouraging excellence among his colleagues.
Perhaps most important, Bob’s cares passionately about the professional satisfaction and development of his colleagues in OGC. He is quick to promote their successes and never hesitates to let me know—usually with a bit of dry humor—where we could be doing better. While I’m biased with respect to Bob’s qualities here, his commitment to OGC is reflected in its Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) scores which consistently rank among the highest, both within the agency and across the entire federal government.
The Commission, and by extension investors and our markets, have been incredibly well-served by Bob’s public service. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.