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Vedder Thinking | Articles Recent SEC Leadership and Organizational Changes

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In December 2020, the SEC announced multiple leadership and organizational changes, including the departures of the Directors of the Divisions of Investment Management, Enforcement and Corporation Finance and the departure of SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

Departures of Division Directors and SEC Chairman. The Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, William Hinman, the Director of the Division of Enforcement, Stephanie Avakian, and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton each stepped down in December 2020. On December 22, 2020, the SEC announced that the Director of the Division of Investment Management, Dalia Blass, would step down in January 2021. On December 28, 2020, the SEC announced that Commissioner Elad Roisman had been appointed Acting SEC Chairman. On January 21, 2021, the SEC announced that Commissioner Allison Herren Lee had been designated Acting Chair of the SEC. On January 22, 2021, the SEC announced that Melissa Hodgman had been named Acting Director of the Division of Enforcement.

FinHub to Become Stand-Alone Office. On December 3, 2020, the SEC announced that its Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (commonly referred to as FinHub) would become a stand-alone office, and thatValerie A. Szczepanik would continue to lead FinHub as its first director and report directly to the SEC Chairman. FinHub was established within the Division of Corporation Finance in 2018 to encourage responsible innovation in the financial sector, including in evolving areas such as distributed ledger technology (i.e., blockchain), digital assets (e.g., cryptocurrencies), automated investment advice (e.g., robo-advisors) and artificial intelligence and machine learning. Ms. Szczepanik stated that the “organizational shift will facilitate the agency’s agility and flexibility to work with market participants and regulators worldwide, and to encourage leading-edge innovation that will shape the intersection between the federal securities laws and technology.”

Division of Examinations. In a public statement issued on December 17, 2020, the SEC announced that it was renaming the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (commonly referred to as OCIE) as the Division of Examinations, noting the office’s growth and the increased breadth and complexity of its responsibilities. OCIE, now the Division of Examinations, is the second largest division at the SEC, with over 1,000 employees, and is primarily responsible for conducting risk-based examinations of SEC- registered entities, is often the first point of contact at the SEC for small registrants and conducts significant outreach to market participants.



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