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SEC Names Avakian, Peikin Co-Directors of Enforcement Division

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The Securities and Exchange Commission named Stephanie Avakian, acting director of the agency’s Division of Enforcement, and former federal prosecutor Steven Peikin as co-directors of the division.

Avakian was named acting director in December after serving as deputy director of the division since June 2014.

Peikin’s most recent post was managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s Criminal Defense and Investigations Group. His practice focused on white-collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement and internal investigations. He also is an adjunct professor of law at New York University Law School, where he teaches a class on the criminal enforcement of securities and commodities laws.

Peikin has also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, and was chief of the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, where he supervised some of the nation’s highest profile prosecutions of accounting fraud, insider trading, market manipulation and abuses in the foreign exchange market. 

‘”There is no place for bad actors in our capital markets, particularly those that prey on investors and undermine confidence in our economy,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, in a statement. “Stephanie and Steve will aggressively police our capital markets and enforce our nation’s securities laws as co-directors of the Division of Enforcement. They have each demonstrated market knowledge, impeccable character and commitment to public service, and I am confident their combined talents and experience will enable them to effectively lead the Division going forward.”

Avakian previously worked in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement as a branch chief in the New York Regional Office, and later served as counsel to former SEC Commissioner Paul Carey.

She received her bachelor’s degree from the College of New Jersey and a law degree from Temple University School of Law, both with high honors.

Peikin received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard Law School, both magna cum laude.

Avakian will continue to work out of the SEC’s Washington headquarters, while Peikin will split his time between the SEC’s headquarters and the agency’s New York Regional Office.

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