May 4, 2021
Last month, the SEC announced Chairman Gary Gensler appointed Alex Oh to be Director of the Division of Enforcement. Just days later, Oh resigned from her position, the SEC initially citing “personal reasons” as the cause for her departure. It was later reported by news outlets that Oh’s resignation was the result of a court ruling affecting her client, ExxonMobil, which she worked with in a previous position at the corporate law firm, Paul, Weiss.
The judge’s ruling was related to the conduct of Exxon’s lawyers throughout a case which involved possible human rights violations by the corporation. Although Oh did not name Exxon in her resignation letter, a person familiar with the matter confirmed the ruling prompted her to step down.
Initially, Oh’s placement on the commission was received as an early step in enacting Gensler’s anticipated rigorous approach to enforcement. Oh previously worked as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan and had been with Paul, Weiss for nearly 20 years.
At this time, Gensler has not named a new appointee as Director of Enforcement. In the interim, Melissa Hodgman, who worked in the position prior to Oh’s appointment, will return to serving as the Acting Director of Enforcement.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
Although a new Director of Enforcement has not been identified, it is likely Gensler’s next appointee will be selected to help him carry out a more forceful style of regulation across the financial industry.
The continuing changes to SEC staff may affect the direction of future regulations and compliance expectations during exams. If your firm wants to get ahead of potentially stricter SEC policies, Fairview is here to help you prepare. Our team of experts will support all aspects of your compliance program with meaningful and ongoing assistance. Contact us today for more information about what we can do for your firm.