The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced a new general council, according to a regulatory statement from the regulatory agency today. Geoffrey F. Aronow was appointed to the position of General Council at the SEC. This post is the agency’s top legal position.
Regulatory officials rarely get the exposure, or praise, that hedge fund managers do, but it often seems as though they deserve at least partial credit. Their job is to ensure that the financial markets are working without underhand illegal activities. The amount of analysis needed for such work often dwarfs the analysis funds do on their equities.
Geoffrey Aronow is not new to regulatory agencies. The lawyer used to be the head of enforcement for the Commodities Futures Trading Agency. His new job represents a promotion, but the work will not necessarily be all that different. As a lawyer in the private sector, Aronow was familiar with the workings of the SEC, but from the other side of the law.
Aronow used to work for a law firm called Bingham McCutchen. The firm often represents clients that are under investigation from the securities and exchange commission. the most notable example of this was the MF Global case Aronow worked in 2011.
MF Global, now infamous, was investigated by the SEC after accusations the company misused funds rightly belonging to its customers. In that case Aronow worked for the company’s North American CFO, Christine Serwinski.
Aronow comes into the SEC at an exciting time. There are several high profile insider trading cases currently ongoing under the auspices of the SEC. The biggest of these is of course, the insider trading investigation into Steven Cohen’s firm SAC Capital.
That case, and most others, appear to have slowed for the moment as the holiday interfered with the scheduling of court hearings. A second interesting insider trading case currently being prosecuted by the SEC involves computer giant, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM).
Both of these cases will turn the gaze of Wall Street onto Aronow as he seeks to prosecute those guilty of insider trading and other offenses. Much of what the SEC does takes place behind closed doors, so much of his business will not be apparent. Much of his work will likely still involve cleaning up the detritus of the financial crisis.
In a statement, Mr. Aronow said that he was “truly honored to re-enter public service as the general council at an agency with such a storied history and critical mission of investor protection and effective market oversight.”
The appointment of Geoffrey Aronow as General Council at the SEC sees him replace Mark Cahn. Several of the agency’s most important players left the agent after the resignation of the agency’s head, Mary Shapiro. Shapiro is recognized as the driving force in the reorganization of the agency in the wake of the financial disaster. The replacement of the officers who carved out a new role for the regulatory agency signals a new era in the history of the Securities and Exchange Commission.