SEC's Director of Trading and Markets Leaving
December 5, 2012
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that Robert Cook, Director of the Division of Trading and Markets, plans to leave the agency. This is the second high profile departure at the Commission in the last two weeks.
Chairman Mary Schapiro also will be leaving the Commission on Dec. 14. President Barack Obama nominated Elisse Walter to succeed Schapiro.
Cook will remain with the Commission for a transitional period in order to help ensure continuity in the Division's functions. No successor has been named yet.
Since joining the SEC in January 2010, 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. 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 in a press release. "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."
Cook oversaw several significant market structure initiatives including the adoption of enhanced risk controls for traders with access to the securities markets, registration and reporting the activities of so-called "large traders," and consolidated audit trail rules. He also directed the staff's ongoing review of equity market structure and its analysis of the May 2010 "flash crash", 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.
According to the SEC website, 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.
Prior to arriving at the SEC, Cook was a partner at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.