The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the U.S., announced that its board of governors has concluded its search for a new chief executive officer, and appointed Robert Cook as president and chief executive officer, effective the second half of 2016. Cook will succeed Richard G. Ketchum, who has served as chairman and CEO since 2009. The board intends to name a new chairman in the coming months.
Cook will join FINRA from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he has served as a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC, office since June 2013. While at Cleary Gottlieb, he has focused on the regulation of securities markets and market intermediaries, including broker-dealers, exchanges, alternative trading systems and clearing agencies.
Prior to joining Cleary Gottlieb, Cook served as the director of the division of trading and markets of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 2010 to 2013. Under his direction, the Division’s 250 professionals were responsible for regulatory policy and oversight with respect to broker-dealers, securities exchanges and markets, clearing agencies and FINRA.
“Robert has a deep understanding of the securities markets, and investors will greatly benefit from his broad regulatory expertise developed as director of the SEC’s division of trading and markets, where he led the organization in establishing and maintaining standards for fair, orderly and efficient markets,” said FINRA lead governor Jack Brennan, former CEO of Vanguard Group. “We thank Rick for his terrific leadership as FINRA’s chairman and CEO, and express our gratitude on behalf of all investors for his decades of service.”
“Having known and worked alongside Robert for several years, I know that he brings extensive expertise as one of the leading practitioners on broker-dealer and market regulation, as well as proven regulatory and leadership experience,” said Ketchum. “Robert’s appointment is the result of the Board’s careful and thorough search process to identify the right leader to carry on FINRA’s important role of educating and protecting investors in the years ahead. It has been my honor and privilege to lead this extraordinary organization.”
Cook graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in social studies in 1988 from Harvard College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his master’s degree with distinction in industrial relations and personnel management from the London School of Economics in 1989. Cook received his juris doctorate cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1992.
FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business – from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms, writing rules, enforcing those rules and the federal securities laws, and informing and educating the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and firms.