The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Investor Advocate Rick A. Fleming will depart the agency after more than eight years of service. Mr. Fleming was appointed in February 2014 to be the first director of the Office of the Investor Advocate at the Commission.
“We thank Rick for building the Office of the Investor Advocate from the ground up and for providing more than eight years of service. As the SEC’s inaugural Investor Advocate, he has been a strong and independent voice for the investors we serve and a tireless, dedicated, and effective advocate on their behalf,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler and Commissioners Hester M. Peirce, Allison Herren Lee, and Caroline A. Crenshaw. “Throughout his tenure, Rick’s thoughtfulness, keen insight, and true passion for investor protection have always been evident as he brought the concerns of investors to the fore and helped the Commission fulfill its mission. His many contributions will have a lasting impact.”
As the Investor Advocate, Mr. Fleming has built an office responsible for assisting retail investors in their interactions with the Commission and self-regulatory organizations (SROs), analyzing the impact on investors of proposed rules and regulations, identifying problems that investors have with financial service providers and investment products, and proposing legislative or regulatory changes to promote the interests of investors. In addition, he has introduced a new program to utilize surveys and other research methods to help the Commission understand the needs of investors. Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Fleming spent fifteen years as a state securities regulator, including more than a decade as General Counsel for the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner.
“It has been an amazing privilege to work on behalf of investors in this role, and I thank the three Chairs, nine Commissioners, and innumerable SEC staff members who have supported our work and taken our views into account during the past eight years,” said Mr. Fleming. “I also express my deepest appreciation to the women and men in the Office of the Investor Advocate who are the true experts and are tireless in their efforts to serve investors. I am proud of the foundation we have laid together and look forward to cheering them on under a new leader.”
Mr. Fleming’s departure will be effective July 1. Marc Sharma will continue in the role of Chief Counsel of the Office and help administer its functions until a new Investor Advocate is appointed.