Former SEC Enforcement Director Discusses Fund Manager Risks and Enforcement’s Priorities (Part Two of Two)

Stephanie Avakian spent four years as Co‑Director and Director of the SEC Division of Enforcement (Enforcement), navigating the Division through various difficulties, including staffing issues, numerous challenges to market integrity and the recent coronavirus pandemic. Despite those challenges, she and her Co‑Director Steven Peikin were able to increase Enforcement’s efficiency and effectiveness in pursuing thousands of actions. Avakian has rejoined WilmerHale as chair of its securities and financial services department, and the Hedge Fund Law Report recently spoke to Avakian in connection with her move. In this second article in our two-part series, Avakian sets forth her thoughts on key risks faced by fund managers, Enforcement’s priorities and ways fund managers can avoid facing SEC enforcement action. The first article examined her role at the SEC, her new position and various ways Enforcement’s approach changed during her tenure. For commentary from other WilmerHale partners, see “FINRA Issues Notice on Best Execution Duties and Payment for Order Flow” (Jul. 29, 2021); and “CFTC Accuses Swaps Trader of Price Manipulation, Deceptive Conduct and Making False Statements” (Jun. 10, 2021).

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