The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Thursday that its enforcement chief, J. Bradley Bennett, will leave the self-regulator early next year to return to private practice.

Susan Schroeder, deputy head of enforcement, will be the acting head of enforcement while FINRA searches for a replacement for Bradley, who assumed his position as executive vice president and chief of enforcement in January 2011.

“Brad has guided our enforcement team in collaborating with other FINRA staff on a number of important investor protection initiatives, such as the high-risk broker program and the senior helpline,” said Robert Cook, FINRA’s president and CEO, in a statement. “I would like to thank Brad for his years of service to promote investor confidence in the securities markets, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.” 

Bennett noted that “working with my colleagues across FINRA on issues critical to its mission has been a great honor,” adding that FINRA’s role “has never been more important to preserving confidence in the markets, and I am proud to have contributed to its success.”

He’s credited with bringing “significant cases” involving variable annuity violations, a multi-firm settlement regarding conflicts of interest related to the ToysRUs IPO, sanctions for supervisory failures related to the sales of Puerto Rican municipal bonds, as well as the significant sanctions for microcap fraud/anti-money laundering violations.

Bennett also spearheaded the reorganization of the Enforcement team to improve the effectiveness of its litigation function.