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SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney stepping down

SEC’s top cop to leave at year-end

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Last month, Mary Jo White, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced that she planned to step down at the end of the year, clearing the way for President-elect Donald Trump to choose new leadership for the financial regulator.

Now, another of the SEC’s top positions is about to be vacant, as Andrew Ceresney, the SEC’s enforcement director, announced that he plans to step down at the end of the year as well.

According to the SEC, Ceresney spent four years as the SEC’s top cop, bringing 2,850 enforcement actions and obtaining judgments and orders totaling more than $13.8 billion in monetary sanctions during his tenure.

“During his nearly four years as head of the agency’s largest division, Mr. Ceresney implemented approaches that strengthened the Division’s investigative and litigation practices and enhanced its effectiveness and impact,” the SEC said in a statement. “Under his leadership, the Enforcement Division brought significant cases across the entire spectrum of the securities industry, achieving record numbers of enforcement actions and monetary remedies.”

Additionally, the SEC charged more than 3,300 companies and more than 2,700 individuals, including many CEOs, chief financial officers, and other senior corporate officer under Ceresney.

While with the SEC, Ceresney oversaw numerous settlements, including with Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and DBRS over mortgage bond ratings.

“Under Andrew’s strong leadership, the Enforcement Division took its already robust enforcement program to an even higher level, achieving unprecedented results, including a record number of enforcement actions, first-of-their-kind cases and a first ever admissions policy for a civil law enforcement agency,” White said.

“Andrew’s tremendous work ethic, commitment to do what is right, and deep dedication to his entire team have made him an incredibly effective leader,” White continued.

“America’s investors and our markets have been extremely fortunate to have him fighting in their corner for the last four years,” White added. “And I am very grateful for his wise counsel, impeccable judgment and expertise.”

Taking over for Ceresney on an interim basis will be Stephanie Avakian, deputy director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, who will become the acting director. 

“My time as Enforcement Director has been the highlight of my career, allowing me to work closely with the extremely talented and dedicated group of professionals in the SEC’s Enforcement Division,” Ceresney said.  

“I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together – our innovative and wide-ranging actions have protected investors, deterred misconduct, and sent the message that the SEC is and always must be the tough cop on the financial beat,” Ceresney continued. “I am particularly grateful to Chair White for the opportunity to work under her leadership and her deep commitment to strong enforcement to protect investors and our markets.”

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