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SEC Investor Advocate Rick Fleming.

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SEC Investor Advocate Rick Fleming to Depart

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Rick Fleming, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s first investor advocate, is leaving the agency July 1.

Fleming was appointed in February 2014 as director of the Office of the Investor Advocate.

“We thank Rick for building the Office of the Investor Advocate from the ground up and for providing more than eight years of service,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler and Commissioners Hester Peirce, Allison Herren Lee and Caroline Crenshaw, in a statement.

“As the SEC’s inaugural Investor Advocate, he has been a strong and independent voice for the investors we serve and a tireless, dedicated, and effective advocate on their behalf.”

The Office of the Investor Advocate is responsible for assisting retail investors in their interactions with the commission and self-regulatory organizations, analyzing the impact on investors of proposed rules and regulations, identifying problems that investors have with financial service providers and investment products, and proposing legislative or regulatory changes to promote the interests of investors.

In addition, Fleming introduced a new program to utilize surveys and other research methods to help the commission understand the needs of investors.

One recent issue Fleming urged the SEC to take up was whether gamification and other digital nudges to encourage trading on online investing platforms qualified as “recommendations” under Regulation Best Interest.

Prior to joining the SEC, Fleming spent 15 years as a state securities regulator, including more than a decade as general counsel for the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner.

“It has been an amazing privilege to work on behalf of investors in this role, and I thank the three Chairs, nine Commissioners, and innumerable SEC staff members who have supported our work and taken our views into account during the past eight years,” Fleming added in the statement. “I also express my deepest appreciation to the women and men in the Office of the Investor Advocate who are the true experts and are tireless in their efforts to serve investors. I am proud of the foundation we have laid together and look forward to cheering them on under a new leader.”

Marc Sharma will continue as chief counsel of the office and help administer its functions until a new investor advocate is appointed, the agency said.


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