Susan Merrill, the former head of enforcement at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), has landed a new job as a partner at the New York office of the law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP.
In March, FINRA announced that Merrill was stepping down at an undetermined date to return to private practice. The agency has yet to name her replacement.
At Bingham, Merrill will join the firm's broker-dealer group and will lead its enforcement practice and advise financial industry clients on regulatory and securities enforcement issues.
Merrill, 53, became the New York Stock Exchange Regulation's enforcement chief in 2004, and remained in that role when much of the NYSE's regulatory arm merged with the National Association of Securities Dealers in 2007 to create FINRA.
Before that, Merrill was a partner at the New York law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP for 10 years, where she represented leading broker-dealers, investment advisors and Fortune 500 companies in investigations before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the NYSE and the NASD.
FINRA was cited for lax enforcement during Merrill's tenure as its top enforcement watchdog, as the overall number of disciplinary actions filed declined 17% between 2005 and 2009. On the plus side, FINRA brought a number of auction-rate securities cases against Wall Street firms.