Washington D.C., Jan. 19, 2021 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Shelley E. Parratt, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, is retiring next month after 35 years of service to the Commission. Ms. Parratt joined the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance in 1986, served as its deputy director since 2003, and served as Acting Director of the Division three separate times.
“Shelley has been an impactful leader at the Commission for decades and her contributions to the Division of Corporation Finance during her tenure are remarkable,” said SEC Acting Chairman Elad Roisman. “During her career, she served on the leadership team of seven different Division Directors and led the Division’s efforts to address a wide range of market and congressional developments. Shelley epitomizes the dedication and expertise that are hallmarks of the SEC’s professionals, and we owe her a great debt of gratitude for her decades of public service.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work at the SEC and serve as a member of the Division of Corporation Finance,” said Ms. Parratt. “I am thankful for the opportunity to have served on the leadership teams of the last seven Division Directors and as Deputy Director to Bill Hinman, Keith Higgins, Meredith Cross, John White and Alan Beller. I am also thankful for having had three opportunities to lead the Division’s staff as Acting Director. I will forever stand in awe of the staff’s passion for public service and steadfast commitment to investors and our markets in the face of any challenge. I am proud of everything the Division accomplished during my tenure and my fondest memories will be of the friendships I have made with the women and men of the SEC.”
Ms. Parratt joined the Division of Corporation Finance as a financial analyst in 1986. Over the years, she has received a number of honorary awards recognizing her service to the Commission and the Division, including the Distinguished Service Award, the SEC’s highest honorary award. She received her MBA from Syracuse University and her BA from St. Lawrence University.
Addressing Significant Market Developments to Ensure That Investors Receive Timely and Material Information
Having led the Division’s Disclosure Program for more than 25 years, Ms. Parratt guided it through consequential changes in the capital markets, unprecedented economic events and national challenges, always with a focus on fulfilling the SEC’s mission to the benefit of investors and the U.S. capital markets.
In response to the 2008 financial crisis, Ms. Parratt implemented a program to continually monitor the disclosures of the largest financial institutions – a critical first step in the Division’s current work to proactively identify and address risks to investors and markets.
More recently, under Ms. Parratt’s leadership, the Division promptly responded to the economic impacts of COVID-19, and related challenges presented to investors and our markets, by providing comprehensive guidance to reporting companies about their disclosure obligations, monitoring disclosures on a real-time basis and providing updated guidance in response, and assisting companies as they complied with the Commission’s modified filing requirements. Ms. Parratt orchestrated similar Division responses to other emergencies and events that presented challenges to investors and the markets during her long tenure, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and natural disasters such as hurricanes.
Providing Timely Guidance; Transparency
Ms. Parratt also led the Division’s efforts to provide timely guidance to public companies as they sought to comply with the reporting requirements of the federal securities laws. Over the last decade, the Division issued Disclosure Guidance Topics and other guidance on a wide array of issues in response to, and in anticipation of, significant market events. Examples include Disclosure Guidance Topics on special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), China-based issuers and cybersecurity, as well as other topics such as sovereign debt exposures and intellectual property and technology risks.
Under Ms. Parratt’s leadership, the Division began issuing “Dear CFO Letters” to provide chief financial officers of public companies valuable insights into the Division’s perspective on a broad range of disclosure and financial reporting matters. In addition, Ms. Parratt led the Division to monitor an array of disclosure topics and provide guidance leading companies to enhance their disclosures in areas such as executive compensation disclosures and compliance with the requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards. In every instance, she sought to improve the disclosures investors use to make informed investment and voting decisions.
Ms. Parratt has been committed to making the Division’s work transparent to provide companies, investors and market participants with insight into the Division’s perspective. She led Division efforts to provide all market participants with access to filing review correspondence shortly after the Division completes a filing review, as well as many Division initiatives to provide public notice of staff and Commission actions.
Implementing Significant Congressional Mandates and Commission Initiatives to Benefit Markets and Investors
Ms. Parratt led the Division’s efforts to implement of a number of investor protection and capital formation efforts in response to substantial congressional, regulatory and market developments. For example, Ms. Parratt led the Division’s efforts to develop new strategies and risk-based selective filing review criteria and to embark on a substantial hiring effort to fulfill the mandatory review requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The Division has subsequently met or exceeded this review mandate every year.
Ms. Parratt also implemented comprehensive changes to better position the disclosure review program to monitor and react to the new realities of the public company capital formation environment following the Commission’s adoption of the Securities Offering Reform rules. In addition, Ms. Parratt led the Division-wide effort to identify and implement strategic disclosure program enhancements and internal controls and procedures to comply with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act mandates. Additionally, in the immediate response to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, she led the SEC’s efforts to restructure the EDGAR filing system and disclosure review protocols to accept and review confidential draft registration statements.
Leading the Division through Changing Landscapes and Preparing it for the Future
Throughout her years in leadership, Ms. Parratt continually focused on ensuring the Division’s organizational structure was positioned to better protect investors and facilitate capital formation. Most recently, she led the realignment of the disclosure program to focus on industry specialization and to enhance how it aligns its review strategies with evolving risks.
Throughout her tenure, Ms. Parratt served as a trusted mentor for countless current and former SEC staff members. As one of the longest serving female senior executives at the SEC, Ms. Parratt used her role to mentor and promote women into leadership roles. Always focused on the present and future needs of the Division, she helped lead the Division’s efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion, knowledge management and staff training with a primary focus on developing the Division’s future leaders. SEC Chair Mary Jo White recognized these efforts by presenting her with the Leading for the Future award in 2016, a highlight of Ms. Parratt’s professional career.