A University of Florida finance professor has been named director of the SEC unit in charge of evaluating the costs and benefits of proposed rules.

Mark Flannery, a professor at the university's Warrington School of Business Administration, will take over as director of the Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Economic and Risk Analysis in September, the SEC announced today. He will also serve as the SEC’s chief economist.

Flannery replaces Craig M. Lewis, a finance professer who left the SEC in May to return to Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Deputy directors Scott Bauguess and Jennifer Marietta-Westberg have acted as co-directors of the division in the interim.

“Professor Flannery is a widely respected economist with extensive experience in many areas relevant to the SEC’s mission, including the regulation of financial institutions, corporate finance, private funds, and credit ratings agencies,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a press release.

DERA was created in 2009 to act as the agency’s economic “think tank,” according to the SEC, with a staff that has expertise in disciplines including economics, risk analysis, finance, law, mathematics, and statistics. 

The SEC has been focused on weighing the costs of rules for financial companies ever since a federal appellate court struck down an agency regulation on proxy access in 2011 for failure to adequately assess the rule’s burdens. In addition, the agency has been criticized by Congressional Republicans, who argue that regulations create excessive compliance costs for advisors and other financial industry businesses.

Reflecting the heightened focus on cost and effectiveness, the division's staff has gone from 60 to nearly 100 since 2011, according to the SEC.

Flannery has served as a senior advisor to the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research since 2011. He was also co-director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s Center for Financial Research from 2003 to 2007.