SEC appoints Jonathan Sokobin director, office of risk assessment

Source: Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that Jonathan S. Sokobin has been named Director of the agency's Office of Risk Assessment (ORA), which is responsible for helping SEC Divisions and Offices develop new ways to anticipate emerging issues and address potential problems in the securities markets.

"Jonathan is being tapped to lead a major initiative that will knit together the agency's resources for the identification of market risks and dangerous illegal practices before they metastasize into truly lethal consequences for investors," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox.

"This year, under Jonathan's leadership, the Office of Risk Assessment will see a doubling of its professional staff to provide resources and analytical support to the Divisions of Enforcement, Trading and Markets, Investment Management, and Corporation Finance, as well as the Office of the Chief Accountant and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. Jonathan's experience, knowledge, and professional training have well equipped him for this vital function of looking around the corners and over the horizon, so that the SEC's efforts will not always be focused on the money that got away, and the lessons of the last major scandal," Chairman Cox added.

"I am excited to face this new challenge and appreciative of the opportunity," said Mr. Sokobin. "The Office of Risk Assessment can serve as a focal point for collecting financial market intelligence in order to help the Commission meet the challenges of regulating in a rapidly evolving world to ensure U.S. markets remain effective, efficient, fair and competitive. I look forward to working closely with the Commission, the staff and market leaders in order to meet ORA's crucial objectives."

The Office of Risk Assessment was created in 2004. Mr. Sokobin will lead the expansion of the Office announced by Chairman Cox earlier this month. The expansion will include the hiring of additional staff this year, and providing additional resources and analytical support to SEC divisions and offices responsible for examining market risks and identifying dangerous illegal practices before they spread into wide-scale problems to the detriment of investors.

Mr. Sokobin joined the SEC in 1998 and has served as Deputy Chief Economist since 2002. Mr. Sokobin replaces the inaugural director of the Office of Risk Assessment, Charles Fishkin, who left the Commission last year.

The Office of Risk Assessment was established to help the SEC's senior managers develop new ways to process and analyze information in order to properly assess market risks associated in an increasingly complex market environment. The Office has introduced various innovative approaches including new technology, statistical and quantitative methods, and enhanced collaboration strategies to help SEC staff make better informed decisions about how best to adjust oversight methods to address emerging challenges. The Office has assisted in many aspects of the SEC's responsibilities, including investment adviser issues, disclosure issues, hedge fund regulation, international regulatory dialogue, and emergency preparedness.

As Deputy Chief Economist, Mr. Sokobin has helped bolster efforts in all areas of the SEC's Office of Economic Analysis, including market structure, market intermediaries, corporate governance and disclosure, mutual funds, technical assistance to foreign regulators, examinations, and enforcement. Mr. Sokobin previously served as Senior Research Fellow from 1998 to 2000 and as Financial Economist from 2000 to 2002.

Prior to joining the SEC staff, Mr. Sokobin was an Assistant Professor of Finance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and he previously worked at the Center for Research in Security Prices at the University of Chicago. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Ohio State University in 1984, and his MBA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1988 and 1993 respectively. Mr. Sokobin has twice earned an SEC Chairman's Award for Excellence, in 2000 and 2004.

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