The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Robert W. Cook, Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets, plans to leave the agency.
Since joining the SEC in January 2010, Mr. Cook has led the Division’s broad regulatory policy program that includes oversight of securities exchanges and markets, broker-dealers, clearing agencies, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Mr. Cook has overseen the implementation of significant rulemaking and other responsibilities assigned to the Division under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.
“Robert provided extraordinary counsel and worked tirelessly as we put in place measures that have helped to bolster our markets,” said SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro. “With his deep experience across a range of issues, he has helped us lay the groundwork for an entirely new and comprehensive regulatory regime for derivatives.”
Mr. Cook said, “I am honored to have worked with my colleagues in the Division of Trading and Markets and others throughout the agency on so many different initiatives to improve our markets and protect investors. It has been a period of unprecedented productivity for the Division, and I am proud of the staff’s hard work and many accomplishments. I would like to thank Chairman Schapiro and the other Commissioners for the opportunity to serve them and the agency. It is an experience for which I will always be grateful.”
Mr. Cook, 47, oversaw several significant market structure initiatives including the adoption of enhanced risk controls for traders with access to the securities markets, large trader registration and reporting rules, and consolidated audit trail rules. He also directed the staff’s ongoing review of equity market structure and its analysis of the “Flash Crash” of May 6, 2010, as well as its work on various regulatory responses such as single-stock circuit breakers, more transparent clearly erroneous trade break rules, updated market-wide circuit breakers, and the limit-up/limit-down volatility moderation mechanism.
Mr. Cook also supervised more than 30 other major rulemaking initiatives and studies authorized or mandated by Dodd-Frank or the JOBS Act, including the development of a new regulatory regime for security-based swaps under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition, Mr. Cook oversaw various projects related to the Chairman’s work on the Financial Stability Oversight Council.
In order to support the increasing amount and complexity of the Division’s responsibilities, Mr. Cook helped to improve the Division’s organization and operations. As part of this effort, he oversaw a significant increase in the Division’s staff to approximately 250 attorneys, financial economists and analysts, accountants, and others. The Division also implemented enhanced procedures for the review of the more than 2,000 proposed rule changes and other filings received annually from self-regulatory organizations.
Mr. Cook will remain with the Commission for a transitional period in order to help ensure continuity in the Division’s functions.
Prior to arriving at the SEC, Mr. Cook was a partner at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. He earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and an A.B. from Harvard College.