SEC names new co-directors of enforcement

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has named Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin as co-directors of its Division of Enforcement.

Avakian has served as acting director of the division since December 2016; she had served as deputy director since 2014. Prior to joining the SEC, she was a vice chair of the securities practice at law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Door LLP.

Peikin comes to the SEC from law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, where he was managing partner of the Criminal Defense and Investigations Group. From 1996 to 2004, he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, and chief of the office’s Securities and Commodities Task Force, prosecuting a wide range of securities, commodities and other investment fraud schemes.

“I have been extremely impressed by the work of the Division of Enforcement under Stephanie’s leadership, and I am delighted that she will continue to use her judgment and knowledge to lead the Division,” said Chairman Jay Clayton in a statement. “She has a first-class legal mind, has the respect of her colleagues in the Washington and regional offices, and, most importantly, is dedicated to the SEC’s mission.”

“Steve brings to the SEC deep market knowledge and extensive prosecutorial experience, including in multinational matters,” Clayton added. “Stephanie and Steve will aggressively police our capital markets and enforce our nation’s securities laws as co-directors of the Division of Enforcement. They have each demonstrated market knowledge, impeccable character, and commitment to public service, and I am confident their combined talents and experience will enable them to effectively lead the division going forward.”

“I am proud of the work done by staff in the Enforcement Division, and I am honored and excited to continue leading this dedicated group of professionals with Steve,” said Avakian in a statement. “His experience and judgment will be an asset to both the Enforcement Division and the agency.”

“The Division of Enforcement is critical to the SEC’s ability to fulfill its mission of protecting investors and maintaining market integrity. I am honored to join its ranks of dedicated and talented professionals,” Peikin said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with Stephanie, who is a respected and proven leader.”

Avakian holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Jersey and a law degree from Temple University School of Law; Peikin holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

The Division of Enforcement is the SEC’s largest unit, with more than 1,200 investigators, accountants, trial attorneys and other professionals.

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