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SEC has its First Investor Advocate

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that it has appointed Rick A. Fleming as its first head of the Office of the Investor Advocate. Mr. Fleming, who is currently deputy general counsel with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), will assume the new role on Feb. 24, 2014.

This announcement comes not long after the SEC and FINRA both voiced concerns relating to alternative investments. The SEC cautioned advisors to carefully conduct due diligence when recommending an investment to clients, fitting in with FINRA’s overall focus for 2014.

In his new position, Mr. Fleming will assist retail investors in interactions both with the SEC and self-regulatory organizations (SROs). Along with the rest of the office, he will find areas where investors would benefit from changes in rules and regulations of the Commission and SROs.

Mary Jo White, Chair of the SEC, commented, “I am very pleased that Rick will be joining the Commission as its inaugural director of our Office of the Investor Advocate.” She continued, “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.”
Since 2011, Mr. Fleming has been NASAA’s deputy general counsel. There, he advocated for investors and represented the organization of state securities regulators before Congress and federal agencies, including the SEC.

Mr. Fleming said, “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. I look forward to helping ensure that investors are always heard and treated fairly.”