Washington, D.C., June 2, 2008 (Lawfuel) – The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Walter G. Ricciardi will retire as Deputy Director of the Division of Enforcement in June. He will join the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP as a partner in the firm’s New York office.
Mr. Ricciardi, who joined the staff from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in April 2004 to run the Commission’s Boston office, was quickly promoted by SEC Chairman Christopher Cox in October 2005 to be one of two Deputy Directors in the Enforcement Division, operating from the Commission’s office in Washington, D.C. In that role, he assisted in planning and directing the Commission’s investigations and other enforcement efforts. Since April 2007, when he moved to the Commission’s New York office, Mr. Ricciardi additionally has had responsibility for overseeing the enforcement efforts of the Commission’s 11 regional offices. Since December 2007, he has served as the sole Deputy in the Division of Enforcement.
On June 4, 2008, Mr. Ricciardi will be awarded the Commission’s Stanley Sporkin Award, which recognizes those who have made “exceptionally tenacious and insightful contributions” to the enforcement of the federal securities laws.
As a hallmark of his tenure, Mr. Ricciardi fostered a close working relationship between the Enforcement Division and the Commission’s other divisions and offices, as well as with other state, federal and global securities regulators and self-regulatory bodies, including FINRA and the PCAOB. He also led the SEC teams conducting a number of significant investigations, and successfully initiated and implemented major enhancements in the management and operations of the Division.
“Walter Ricciardi, as much as anyone in the Commission’s modern history, has professionalized the management of the SEC’s enforcement program both in Washington and in the SEC’s regional offices across the country,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “Working closely with Linda Thomsen, the Division Director, Walter implemented significant new technology improvements and management reforms that have knitted together the national resources of the SEC as never before. From the selection of which cases to bring, to ensuring that the best talent and resources from across the country are brought to bear in every case, to giving the SEC the capacity to move against fraud anywhere in the world in real time, Walter’s contributions will long be remembered as a giant step forward for investor protection.”
Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said, “It has been a great privilege and unqualified pleasure to work with Walter. He has brought enthusiasm and passion and wisdom and creativity to our work. He is a tireless advocate for investors and has devoted himself to making sure that all of us do our very best for them. We will all miss him and we wish him all the very best.”
Mr. Ricciardi said, “I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Commission’s staff, where at the heart of every decision are the best interests of investors. The staff’s integrity, passion for our mission and dedication to teamwork make me immensely proud to be their colleague.”
Mr. Ricciardi led the team that brought a number of proceedings that significantly advanced the Commission’s mission of protecting investors:
The $600 million global settlement, which included state securities and other authorities, related to misconduct by Prudential Securities registered representatives who defrauded mutual funds by concealing their identities to evade mutual funds’ prospectus limitations on market timing.
The $9.7 million global settlement by broker-dealer Jefferies & Co. for improperly providing million of dollars of lavish gifts, extravagant travel and entertainment to win mutual fund trading business.
The $8 million settlement with Fidelity Investments for the improper acceptance of travel, entertainment and other gifts paid for by outside brokers courting its trading business and allowing such gifts to influence the selection of brokers.
The litigation and eventual settlement of charges against Biopure Corporation for misrepresentations about the status of its efforts to obtain FDA approval of its artificial blood substitute.
The litigation against Raymond James Financial that resulted in a $6.9 million penalty for its failure to properly respond when a registered representative was engaged in a very suspicious business venture that defrauded investors.
The settlement of actions against the former executives of SmartForce and its auditor in connection with the software company’s overstatement of revenue.
Mr. Ricciardi spearheaded a number of enhancements to the management of the Enforcement program. These include:
Initiated the enforcement management plan, which requires the Deputy’s involvement in the decision whether to open an investigation, whether to continue an investigation at the six-month mark, whether to provide a Wells notice, and the staff’s settlement posture.
Revised practices with regard to closing investigations, which require prompt notification to potential respondents when investigations are closed prior to the completion of all administrative steps in the process.
Initiated the formation of and participated on Enforcement-wide working groups to share best practices and coordinate investigations with similar issues including insider trading at hedge funds, options back-dating, sub-prime issues and municipal finance.
Supervised the development and nationwide deployment of the Hub, the SEC’s investigation tracking and case management system that now integrates every aspect of the Commission’s national enforcement program.
Mr. Ricciardi also devoted significant efforts to enhancing the Commission’s commitment to diversity, and was a founding member of the Enforcement Division’s diversity committee.
Mr. Ricciardi’s career prior to joining the Commission’s staff began with service as the law clerk to the Hon. Charles R. Richey, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia. He also was the Deputy General Counsel-Litigation for Coopers & Lybrand, and after the firm’s merger with Price Waterhouse, the leader of the Litigation Practice Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he led the defense of the firm and its personnel with regard to litigation and investigations. At PwC, Mr. Ricciardi also was elected by the firm’s partners to serve as a member of the Board of Partners and Principals, which has responsibility for partner admissions, compensation and oversight of the management of the firm. He also was elected by the partners of the PwC international member firms to serve as a member of the Global Oversight Board of the global organization of the PwC firms.
Mr. Ricciardi received an A.B. from Columbia College in 1975, and a J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law in 1978. He served as a Note and Comment Editor of the New York University Law Review. He also is an Adjunct Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, where he teaches a seminar on the liability of professionals under the securities laws.