WASHINGTON (September 15, 2011) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP announced today that John H. Walsh, a 23-year veteran of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will join the firm’s Financial Services Group and Securities Enforcement and Litigation Team in Washington, D.C., effective October 1, 2011. The move comes as compliance and enforcement actions become increasingly linked, and the securities industry braces for swift and tougher SEC scrutiny.
At the SEC, Mr. Walsh played an instrumental role in creating the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), designing and implementing the SEC’s securities compliance examination practices, first as a Senior Advisor for Compliance Policy and then as Associate Director-Chief Counsel. OCIE administers examinations of the nation’s registered entities, including broker-dealers, investment managers, funds, self-regulatory organizations, and others. OCIE’s responsibilities will increasingly be focused on identifying areas for securities enforcement and further regulation.
In 2009, at the peak of the financial crisis, Mr. Walsh served as OCIE’s Acting Director and led a massive retraining of examination staff on anti-fraud techniques, including examination and certification of hundreds of staff as Certified Fraud Examiners. Until a permanent director was appointed in January 2010, he also testified before Congress and responded to inquiries from the Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, Congress, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
“We are extremely pleased that John has joined our Washington, D.C., office," said Sutherland’s Managing Partner Mark D. Wasserman. “His strong background and extensive work experience at the SEC—particularly during one of the most trying financial times our country has seen in decades—will be invaluable to the firm and to our clients."
“Sutherland is extremely well-regarded within the industry and has built an excellent practice that has aspects of both securities regulation, compliance and enforcement that I sought," said Mr. Walsh. “As the line between compliance and enforcement increasingly blurs, I look forward to using my extensive knowledge to help counsel clients on some of their most critical matters and help them navigate today's new regulatory and compliance hurdles."
Prior to his tenure at the OCIE, Mr. Walsh was Special Counsel to former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt from 1993-1995. From 1990-1993, he worked in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, serving first as Senior Counsel then as Chief of the Branch of Regional Office Assistance where he regularly appeared before the Commission’s Closed Meetings to present and discuss regional office enforcement cases. He also advised the commissioners and staff on securities laws and agency policy. Mr. Walsh began his career with the SEC in 1988 as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel.
Mr. Walsh has received numerous awards during his tenure at the SEC. In 2010, and again in 2011, his team received the SEC’s Law and Policy Award for their work on the Dodd-Frank Act. He is a Certified Fraud Examiner and has been a frequent speaker at securities industry legal and compliance conferences over the past 10 years.
“John’s unique experience will enhance our regulatory, compliance and enforcement practices serving clients nationwide, including broker-dealers and investment advisers, investment companies, and insurance companies," said Stephen E. Roth, Chair of the firm’s Financial Services Practice Group.
SUTHERLAND ASBILL & BRENNAN LLP
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm with global reach known for solving challenging business problems and resolving sophisticated legal issues for many of the world’s largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm handles matters throughout the United States and worldwide. Seven major practice areas—corporate, energy and environmental, financial services, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and tax—provide the framework for an extensive range of focus areas, allowing Sutherland attorneys to serve a diverse client base that ranges from small and medium-sized start-up businesses to a significant number of Fortune 100 companies.