SEC Names Lewis as Chief Economist, Director of RiskFin Division

Finance professor at Vanderbilt to help lead fiduciary duty rulemaking analysis

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Friday that it had named Craig Lewis as the SEC’s chief economist and director of the Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation (RiskFin).

Lewis (left), the Madison S. Wigginton Professor of Finance at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, is currently a visiting scholar at the SEC and will assume his new role in June.

As the SEC notes in the release announcing Lewis’ appointment, RiskFin was created in September 2009 to provide interdisciplinary analysis to help inform the commission’s policymaking, rulemaking, enforcement and examinations. RiskFin encompasses the former Office of Economic Analysis, Office of Risk Assessment, and Office of Interactive Disclosure.

“Professor Lewis is a distinguished economist with a clear understanding of the complexities of financial markets,” said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, in a statement. “As the head of the division, he will not only lead our qualified team of expert economists, but will also help to inject strong data-driven analysis into the SEC’s decision-making process.”

Lewis first served as a visiting academic fellow at the SEC from January to July 2010, and subsequently returned in that same capacity in January 2011. The SEC says that “over this period he has provided advice on policy issues, worked on developing analytic approaches to identify violations of securities laws, and analyzed the over-the-counter derivative securities market.”

Lewis will no doubt be heading the team of economists that Schapiro has asked to analyze economic data that is available regarding fiduciary duty to help inform the rule to put brokers under the same fiduciary standard as advisors.

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