FINRA's New York headquarters. (Photo: ThinkAdvisor/Ronald Pechtimaldjian)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced Thursday that William H. Heyman, vice chairman and chief investment officer of The Travelers Companies Inc., will become chairman of FINRA’s board, effective July 18.

Heyman succeeds former Vanguard CEO John J. “Jack” Brennan, who became chairman last year after serving as the board’s lead governor since 2011.

“Bill’s extensive experience as a regulator, as an institutional investor and in the industry make him an outstanding choice to chair an organization whose mission is to protect investors and ensure the integrity of financial markets,” said FINRA CEO Robert Cook, in a statement. “We look forward to working with Bill to advance that mission.”

Cook added that FINRA is “grateful to Jack for his exceptional contributions to FINRA. Jack has been a consistent champion for individual investors and for a vibrant industry, and has led the board with a steady hand during a period of significant change for securities firms and for the markets.”   

Heyman earlier served as a member of the FINRA board from January 2004 through September 2016, chairing the Management Compensation Committee and, prior to that, the Nominating and Governance Committee. He also served on the Finance, Operations & Technology Committee, Investment Committee and Executive Committee.

“I am honored by the opportunity to lead the FINRA board at this important time in the evolution of FINRA and the financial industry and markets,” Heyman said. “Under Jack Brennan’s leadership, FINRA has a strong and dedicated board, and I look forward to rejoining my colleagues both on the board and in management.” 

Prior to his current role at Travelers, Heyman was chairman of Citigroup Investments, a subsidiary that managed much of Citigroup’s proprietary portfolio, including private equity, real estate and alternative investments.

He began his career in the securities business in 1979, co-founding Mercury Securities, a small broker-dealer specializing in merger arbitrage. Prior to that, he was a securities lawyer, principally with Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Heyman graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and cum laude from Harvard Law School.