WASHINGTON Feb 12 The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission announced on Wednesday it had filled several
tions, including the head of an office that is handling an
ongoing dispute with China and a brand-new office designed to
help retail investors.
The agency said it had tapped Paul Leder, a partner at the
law firm Richards, Kibbe & Orbe, to head its Office of
That office is critical because it provides support on
cross-border enforcement cases and works with foreign regulatory
counterparts to craft rules that have a global impact.
The office has been particularly involved in an ongoing
diplomatic dispute between the United States and China over
access to audit work papers.
The SEC has been seeking to get the audit paperwork to
assist with investigations into accounting fraud at China-based
companies that are listed in the United States. But audit firms
have refused to turn them over, citing Chinese secrecy laws.
Leder joins the SEC at a tense time in SEC-Chinese
relations. Several weeks ago, an SEC administrative law judge
ordered the Chinese units of the Big Four accounting firms to
face a six-month suspension from practicing in the United States
for failing to share the audit work.
The case is expected to be appealed to the full five-member
The SEC also said on Wednesday it was hiring Rick Fleming to
head up the Office of the Investor Advocate, a new office
created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law to assist
"Mom and Pop" investors.
Fleming joins the agency from the North American Securities
Administrators Association, where he has served as deputy
In that position, he has been deeply involved in helping to
push the SEC and Congress to draft regulations and laws with a
more investor-friendly focus.
The group of state securities regulators has been vocal, for
instance, in calling for stronger investor protections in rules
that stemmed from the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS)
That 2012 law loosens securities rules to help small
businesses raise capital. But critics including NASAA have said
it may open the door to more fraud.
In his new role, Fleming will be tasked with facilitating
greater communication between retail investors and regulators,
and helping gauge the possible impact of new rules.
In addition to Leder and Fleming, the SEC also announced on
Tuesday and Wednesday it had made two additional hires.
On Tuesday, it said that Michael Maloney of Navigant
Consulting Inc will join as head accountant in the SEC's
In that role he will help provide expertise on
investigations into accounting fraud and financial reporting, an
area of greater focus by the SEC under the leadership of the
agency's chair, Mary Jo White.
The SEC also Wednesday said that David Fredrickson, an
assistant general counsel at the SEC since 1998, in March will
become associate director and chief council in the Division of