Erik R. Sirri, an economist with expertise in the structure of securities markets, has been named the new director of market regulation at the Securities and Exchange Commission."Erik brings to the SEC an exceptional insight into the future of securities exchanges, which has been a major focus of his work, and which will be indispensable in safeguarding the interests of investors as capital markets around the globe rapidly converge," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox.

Sirri, 48, was the SEC's chief economist from 1996 to 1999. He is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School and is a finance professor at Babson College, in Wellesley, Mass. He holds a bachelor's degree in astronomy from Caltech, an MBA from UC Irvine and a doctorate in finance from UCLA.

Sirri has also been a member of the economic advisory board of the Nasdaq Stock Market and the board of the Boston Options Exchange, and was a governor of the Boston Stock Exchange. Before his career in finance and economics, he worked on planetary astronomy missions for NASA and on space surveillance sensors in the aerospace industry. The SEC's statement regarding the appointment also touted Sirri's experience in the mutual fund industry.

He was due to start at the commission on Sept. 12. The position had been open since January.

As director of the division of market regulation, Sirri will be responsible for the regulation of broker/dealer firms, the stock exchanges, the National Association of Securities Dealers, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, and clearing and settlement agencies. The appointment fills the last of several key spots Cox has had to fill in recent months.

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