Quantitative analysts are improving policy making at the Securities and Exchange Commission, departing Investment Management Division Chief Norm Champ told Financial Advisor on Friday.
Champ said financial Ph.D.s who are comfortable with big data have had a growing impact during his three years at the top of the division.
“They give us a much better sense of what is going on,” Champ said the morning of his last day on the job. “If you are going to make policy, you have to have the facts of what’s happening.” 
He said the accomplishments he is most proud of include helping to bring about money-market mutual fund reform, which was stalled when he took office.
“It has clearly been very important to the commission and the markets,” said Champ.
In addition to working at the SEC, Champ has periodically taught investment management law classes at Harvard Law School, where he will be a visiting scholar after leaving the SEC.
He said his students are more focused on potential problems in the investment management industry than they were when he first started teaching at Harvard in 2008
The “difficult economic environment” many law firms faced after the financial crisis of 2008 made it easier for the investment management industry to attract top talent, Champ said.