By Suzanne Barlyn
April 22 (Reuters) - The head of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's member sales practice unit will take on a broader role, overseeing several departments, including fraud detection, market intelligence and enforcement, according to an announcement Monday.
Susan Axelrod's new role as FINRA's head of regulatory operations is effective immediately. She will report directly to Richard Ketchum, FINRA's chairman and chief executive.
Axelrod has been a Wall Street fixture since 1989, beginning as a staff attorney for the enforcement division of the New York Stock Exchange. Before joining FINRA in 2007, Axelrod was chief of staff to the chief executive of NYSE regulation.
"I've always had the highest regard for her professionally as well as personally," said Gerald Baker, a compliance consultant in Kewadin, Michigan. "She has a great understanding of our industry and how our firms operate," Baker said.
FINRA oversees about 4,270 brokerage firms and about 630,000 brokers. The regulator routinely examines brokerages to determine whether they are in compliance with industry rules.
Axelrod's new role also includes overseeing a range of regulatory units that oversee member firms in areas ranging from risk oversight to operations.
"These groups work very closely together. There are a lot of synergies between their goals and missions," said Axelrod in an interview. Axelrod is looking forward to further aligning the units she will oversee, she said. That will include a greater focus on potential risks at firms and being more aggressive with bad actors, Axelrod said.
FINRA's Michael Rufino will take on Axelrod's prior role. Rufino's duties, as acting head of the sales practice unit, will include supervising FINRA's 15 district offices. He previously assisted Axelrod with that task.