Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2008 (LAWFUEL) – The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Mark K. Schonfeld, the Director of the New York Regional Office, will conclude 12 years of dedicated service when he leaves the agency at the end of September to become a partner at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he will be co-head of the Securities Enforcement Defense practice and a member of the White Collar Defense, Investigations and Crisis Management practices.
Mr. Schonfeld has led the SEC’s New York office through one of the most vibrant and rapidly evolving periods in the history of the Commission and in securities law enforcement. Under his direction, the office brought a series of cutting-edge cases dealing with complex accounting fraud, mutual fund trading, hedge fund abuses, foreign bribery, insider trading and market manipulation. During this period, the New York office recovered more than $3 billion for investors and effected overhauls in corporate governance and compliance programs at major financial institutions.
As head of the SEC’s largest regional office, Mr. Schonfeld oversaw nearly 400 SEC enforcement attorneys, accountants, investigators and compliance examiners engaged in the investigation and prosecution of enforcement actions and the performance of compliance inspections in the region. Situated in the nation’s financial capital, the New York Regional Office also encompasses the largest concentration of SEC-registered financial institutions, including more than 4,000 investment banks, investment advisers, broker-dealers, mutual funds and hedge funds.
“Mark’s keen intellect and able leadership have been amply demonstrated through his exemplary achievements on behalf of the investing public,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “Mark has built and led an outstanding team in the SEC’s New York office that has consistently looked out for investors’ interests through swift and significant actions that have deterred wrongdoing and punished violators. The nation’s investors and our markets owe Mark an enormous debt of gratitude for his extraordinary public service.”
Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said, “Mark has been a creative, aggressive and tireless advocate for investors. Under his leadership, the New York Regional Office has brought hundreds of cases, many of them addressing the most urgent securities issues of the time. Not only is Mark not afraid of the tough issues, he thrives on them. Mark has been a terrific colleague to all of us, we will miss him and wish him all the very best.”
Lori Richards, Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, added, “Mark has been dedicated to the public interest throughout his career at the SEC. As Regional Director, Mark led an exam staff that is single-minded in identifying and addressing violations and deficiencies in an effective manner for the protection of investors. I will miss his calm and his humor under pressure, and the NYRO and other SEC staff will miss his committed leadership. Investors have been extraordinarily well-served by his service.”
Mr. Schonfeld said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Commission, particularly during such a dynamic period of its history. Above all else, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with my fellow staff members in New York and throughout the Commission who bring unparalleled talent, dedication and professionalism to the Commission’s mission of protecting investors.”
Mr. Schonfeld, 45, has been with the SEC for 12 years, the last four years as Director of the New York Regional Office, a period in which the office brought numerous landmark actions including:
An industry-wide crackdown on fraudulent accounting by insurance and reinsurance companies, including an $800 million settlement with AIG, and other cases involving General Re, MBIA and RennaissanceRe.
A nationwide investigation of mutual fund trading practices resulting in cases against Bank of America, Bear Stearns, Alliance Capital Management, CIBC, Citigroup and others, with settlements totaling more than $1 billion.
Complex accounting fraud cases against Adelphia Communications, Computer Associates, Symbol Technologies and Rent-Way, and audit failure case against Deloitte & Touche for the Adelphia audit.
An options backdating case against former officers of Monster Worldwide.
Actions against the NYSE and specialists for unlawful trading.
An insider trading case that stopped an international trading ring stealing information from Merrill Lynch, Business Week and a sitting grand jury
The “squawk box” cases against brokers at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Citigroup for leaking institutional order information to frontrunners.
A research analyst case against Lehman Brothers, part of the global research settlement, and IPO allocation cases against Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse First Boston.
Hedge fund cases involving Millennium Partners, Lipper Convertibles, HMC International and Northshore Asset Management.
Recently, Mr. Schonfeld has led investigations arising from the subprime lending crisis.
Mr. Schonfeld coordinated regulatory and enforcement initiatives with other federal and state law enforcement and financial regulatory agencies, including the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorneys offices, state Attorneys General, and securities regulators and self-regulatory organizations, such as the New York Stock Exchange and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
During Mr. Schonfeld’s tenure, the examination staff of the New York Office conducted numerous important inspections of SEC registered firms, including some of the nation’s largest broker-dealers, investment advisers, mutual funds, and transfer agents. It led significant risk-targeted examinations to assess potential industry trends and problems, including valuation practices for mortgage-backed securities.
Mr. Schonfeld was a frequent participant in international training programs for foreign financial regulators and law enforcement agencies, and also was a member of the Commission’s Diversity Committee on Mentoring and Professional Development.
Mr. Schonfeld began working at the agency in 1996 as a staff attorney in the Enforcement Division in the SEC’s Boston office. He became a Branch Chief in the New York office in 1998, Assistant Director in 1999, Associate Director and Co-Head of Enforcement for the New York office in 2001, and Director of the New York Regional Office in 2004.
Mr. Schonfeld received a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1988 and a B.A., summa cum laude, and with Highest Distinction from the University of Rochester in 1984. Mr. Schonfeld was a law clerk to Hon. Ellsworth A. Van Graafeiland on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to joining the SEC, Mr. Schonfeld was a litigator in private practice.