Robert W. Cook, who oversaw Finra as the SEC director of trading and markets from 2010 to 2013, has been tapped to head Finra in the second half of the year, the agency announced Monday.
While at the SEC, Cook’s Division of Trading and Markets developed beefed-up review procedures for hundreds of Finra proposed rule changes and other filings.
The unit also reviewed standards of conduct for investment advisors and broker-dealers.
Since departing the SEC, Cook has been a securities attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Cook led the SEC investigation into the May 6, 2010, “Flash Crash” and aided then-SEC Chair Mary Schapiro on projects for the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).
Cook is succeeding Rick Ketchum as Finra president and CEO, but he will not replace Ketchum as chairman. Finra plans to name a new chair in the coming months, according to an agency press release.
For financial advisors, one of the biggest questions is whether Cook will restart Finra’s campaign to have Congress allow it to regulate investment advisors. Ketchum once pushed for the power, but then stopped.
It is also not known whether Cook is in favor of having Finra conduct third-party exams of advisors without enforcement authority.
Ketchum called Cook “one of the leading practitioners on broker-dealer and market regulation.” He said the has worked alongside of Cook for years.
A leader in the year-long search process for Ketchum’s successor, Finra Lead Governor and former Vanguard CEO Jack Brennan complimented Cook for establishing and maintaining standards for fair, orderly and efficient markets while he was at the SEC.
When she announced his departure from the SEC, Schapiro praised Cook for working tirelessly to help bolster the markets.