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FINRA CEO Richard Ketchum to Retire in 2016

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Friday that Chairman and CEO Richard Ketchum, 64, is retiring in the second half of 2016. The independent regulator’s board of governors plans to conduct a search for his successor.

Ketchum’s retirement announcement comes at a critical time for the industry, as regulators and Congress debate the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary standard — which he and FINRA opposed. FINRA is currently working to finalize new rules for equity crowdfunding portals, which it regulates.

“FINRA has thrived under Rick’s leadership, and we look forward to his continued guidance over the next many months,” said Jack Brennan, lead governor of FINRA and ex-CEO of Vanguard Group, in a statement.

“His stewardship began in the aftermath of the financial crisis when public trust in the financial system was at an historic low,” Brennan added. As a champion of initiatives such as … improvements in BrokerCheck …, Rick has put FINRA on the front line of the movement for stronger investor protections and greater market integrity.”

Before becoming CEO and chairman of FINRA in Febrary 2009, Ketchum was CEO of NYSE Regulation, starting in early 2006; he served as the first chief regulatory officer of the New York Stock Exchange starting in March 2004. He spent 12 years at the National Association of Securities Dealers and Nasdaq, as well as 14 at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Rick Ketchum is rightly recognized as a strong regulator who combines brilliance with a deep knowledge of our markets,” said SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White, in a statement. “He came to FINRA in the aftermath of the financial crisis, where he worked tirelessly to protect and educate investors while also improving the integrity of the markets … Investors are better protected and our markets are stronger because of Rick Ketchum.”

In January, Ketchum was named to the SEC Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee, about a year after he was asked to serve on the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans. He also served on the Joint Advisory Committee on Emerging Regulatory Issues, a committee created by the SEC and CFTC to review emerging regulatory issues, starting with the market events coming out of the May 2010 so-called “flash-crash.”

Ketchum was set to speak at the upcoming FSI Advisor Summit in Washington, D.C., on Monday. However, he recently cancelled that appearance.

“While at times we had our differences, he was always willing to listen, understand and consider the perspectives of all stakeholders,” said FSI President & CEO Dale Brown, in a statement. “Through this collaboration Rick and his team at FINRA have enhanced investor protection through more effective regulation. I congratulate him on his retirement.”

— Check out FINRA’s Ketchum: 3 Top Exam Priorities for 2016 on ThinkAdvisor.