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U.S. SEC co-director of enforcement to leave agency: statement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A co-director of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Steven Peikin, will leave the agency Aug. 14, the top U.S. financial markets regulator said on Wednesday.

Peikin is leaving the SEC after more than three years in the role. Co-director Stephanie Avakian will remain in charge of the agency’s enforcement operations, the SEC said in a statement.

The SEC did not say what Peikin would be doing next. Peikin declined to comment beyond his official statement provided by the SEC.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton praised the work of the two co-directors.

“Their investor-first efforts have resulted in thousands of actions that have righted wrongs and, more importantly, both returned illicit gains to harmed investors and eliminated improper fees, providing lasting savings for years to come,” Clayton said in the statement.

According to the agency, the SEC’s enforcement division obtained over $13.5 billion in disgorgement and penalties during Peikin’s tenure and returned more than $3 billion to harmed investors.

Prior to joining the SEC, Peikin was a managing partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, and previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York.

Reporting by Chris Prentice and Pete Schroeder; Editing by Franklin Paul and Leslie Adler

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