SEC appoints General Counsel, Corporate Finance Head

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has appointed Renee Jones as the head of the Division of Corporation Finance and John Coates as legal counsel to the SEC effective June 21, the SEC said in an announcement Monday (June 14).

Jones was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Boston College Law School and also taught law there. She was previously a lawyer at Hill & Barlow, according to the announcement.

“Strong public disclosure has been a hallmark of effective securities regulation since the 1930s,” SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in the announcement. “Renee brings in-depth corporate governance and securities law expertise to the corporate finance division. His leadership will be invaluable as the division facilitates disclosure under our current rules and undertakes rule modernization to meet today’s challenges.

Jones said in the announcement that she has a “critical role” in ensuring that every investor has the right details to make “informed investment decisions.”

Coates has served as an interim director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance since February, according to the announcement. Prior to that, he was Professor of Law at Harvard University, where he was also Associate Dean of Finance and Strategic Initiatives. Previously, Coates was a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

“In just two months, I have come to rely on John’s extensive expertise and judgment, essential qualities in the role of General Counsel,” Gensler said in the announcement.

Coates said in the announcement that he wanted to continue his work in helping the SEC meet its “mission to protect investors,” while ensuring that there are “fair, orderly and efficient markets” and by facilitating “capital formation”.

In separate SEC news, Gensler said in a speech at the Piper Sandler Global Exchange & FinTech conference earlier this month that he was studying audits of laws regulating the US stock market. The federal agency is studying changes in legislation that regulates how stocks are traded and how prices are set.

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