Lori Richards, the director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), is leaving the agency.
In a press release announcing her departure from the SEC, Richards stated that “After 14 years leading the SEC’s exam corps and more than two decades at the SEC, I’ve decided to take on new challenges.” Richards has been director of OCIE since it was created in May 1995 by former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro stated in the release that she’s “had the honor and privilege of knowing and working with Lori for many years, and have always appreciated her dedication, leadership and integrity. I respect her decision to leave the SEC and am grateful for her many years of public service.”
The news of Richards’ departure comes less than a week before the House Financial Services Capital Markets Subcommittee’s June 14 hearing to discuss the SEC’s current state and agenda; Schapiro is slated to testify.
Richards’ departure is also likely a sign that changes are afoot for OCIE. Talk has been swirling for some time that OCIE was at fault for not stopping the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. There have also been recommendations that OCIE either be done away with entirely or that its duties should be folded back into other SEC divisions, namely Trading and Markets and Investment Management, notes Brian Rubin, a partner with the law firm Sutherland in Washington, D.C.