The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that Rick Fleming has been appointed as the inaugural head of the SEC’s new Office of the Investor Advocate.

SEC Rick Fleming

The Investor Advocate is responsible for assisting retail investors in all interactions with the Commission and with other government self-regulatory organizations. The Office of Investor Advocate will also identify areas where investors would benefit from changes in, and analyzing the impact of, the rules and regulations of the Commission and SROs, as well as identifying problems that frequently crop up with financial service providers or investment products, and proposing changes to promote the interests of investors.

Statement from SEC

“It is a great honor to be appointed as the first Investor Advocate at the Commission, where I will work alongside the many talented professionals at the SEC who have dedicated their careers to the protection of investors,” said Rick Fleming. “I look forward to helping ensure that investors are always heard and treated fairly.”

“I am very pleased that Rick will be joining the Commission as its inaugural director of our Office of the Investor Advocate,” said Mary Jo White, Chair of the SEC, in a statement.  “Rick brings a depth of experience advocating for the interests of investors, a keen understanding of the markets, and a true passion for investor protection.”

Rick Fleming bio

Rick Fleming earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Washburn University and also holds a law degree from Wake Forest University.

He is currently serving as deputy general counsel with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and will assume his new job as SEC Investor Advocate on Feb. 24th.

Rick Fleming assumed the position of NASAA’s deputy general counsel in October 2011. He has worked on behalf of investors and spoken for his employer before state securities regulators, and before the U.S. Congress and other federal agencies, including the SEC.

He also worked for more than two decades in Kansas state government, including stints in the Office of the Secretary of State, the Office of the Governor, and the Office of the Securities Commissioner. He began at the Office of the Securities Commissioner in Kansas as associate general counsel and eventually moved up to general counsel. In that capacity, he represented Kansas in numerous disciplinary proceedings against broker-dealers and investment advisers, worked toward the prosecution of a number of civil and criminal securities-fraud cases, helped to draft legislation and testified before the state legislature dozens of times.