WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that J. Bradley (Brad) Bennett will leave FINRA early next year. Bennett has served as FINRA’s Chief of Enforcement for nearly six years, overseeing 300 enforcement staff in 14 district offices across the United States responsible for investigating potential violations of FINRA rules and securities laws. Susan Schroeder, Deputy Head of Enforcement, has been named the Acting Head of Enforcement. FINRA will undertake a search for a replacement head of Enforcement that will consider both internal and external candidates.
Robert Cook, FINRA President and CEO, said, “Brad has guided our Enforcement team in collaborating with other FINRA staff on a number of important investor protection initiatives, such as the high-risk broker program and the senior helpline. I would like to thank Brad for his years of service to promote investor confidence in the securities markets, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Susan Axelrod, FINRA Executive Vice President and Head of Regulatory Operations, said, “As a regulator, Brad’s first priority has always been to protect investors and the markets, and this is evident by the quality of cases brought under his leadership, many of which included meaningful restitution to harmed customers. I am grateful for his many contributions and dedication to FINRA’s mission over the past six years.”
Brad Bennett, FINRA's Executive Vice President and Chief of Enforcement, said, “Working with my colleagues across FINRA on issues critical to its mission has been a great honor. FINRA’s role has never been more important to preserving confidence in the markets, and I am proud to have contributed to its success. The Enforcement staff’s talent and dedication resulted in significant cases across a broad range of areas essential to investor protection, and being a part of their team was the highlight of my career.”
Under Bennett’s direction, FINRA brought a number of cases seeking restitution for harmed customers, including ordering restitution for those who did not receive applicable discounts and restitution for customers in connection to sales of complex products. He also was instrumental in taking swift action to stop fraudulent conduct, including the use of Temporary Cease and Desist Orders. Significant cases under Bennett’s leadership include those involving variable annuity violations, a multi-firm settlement regarding conflicts of interest related to the ToysRUs IPO, sanctions for supervisory failures related to the sales of Puerto Rican municipal bonds, as well as the significant sanctions for microcap fraud/anti-money laundering violations. Bennett also spearheaded the reorganization of the Enforcement team to improve the effectiveness of its litigation function.
Bennett is leaving to return to private practice. He joined as FINRA Executive Vice President and Chief of Enforcement in January 2011. Prior to joining FINRA, Brad worked at Baker Botts, where he specialized in financial and securities law violations. Before joining Baker Botts in 2001, he was an attorney at Miller, Cassidy, Larocca & Lewin. He started his career at the Securities and Exchange Commission as a senior attorney in the Division of Enforcement.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, regulates all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. 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. For more information, please visit www.finra.org.