Washington, D.C., Oct. 18, 2007 – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Helane L. Morrison, the SEC’s Regional Director in San Francisco, announced today that she will leave the Commission at the end of October. Ms. Morrison will become General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and a Principal at Hall Capital Partners, LLC, a San Francisco advisory firm.
As head of the San Francisco office since August 1999, Ms. Morrison has been responsible for the Commission’s enforcement and examination programs in Northern California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska during an extraordinarily active time in the SEC’s history. Prior to August 1999, Ms. Morrison led the San Francisco office’s enforcement efforts for three years.
“Under Helane’s leadership, the San Francisco office has enhanced its strong and effective presence in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Helane has led several major enforcement actions of enormous significance to investors and our markets. During her tenure, the office doubled in size and became a regional office,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “We will miss her dedication, integrity, and passion for protecting investors. She has loaned her considerable stature and professional skill to the service of her nation for over a decade, and in the process enhanced both the SEC and the strength of our markets.”
SEC Director of Enforcement Linda Chatman Thomsen said, “Helane has always emphasized excellence for herself and the San Francisco office. Under her leadership, the San Francisco office brought nationally significant cases. Her creativity, diligence and enthusiasm have been an inspiration to all of us. She has been a wonderful colleague; we will miss her and look forward to seeing her continued success.”
Lori Richards, Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, added, “Helane has served the Commission with great distinction. Under Helane’s leadership, the San Francisco examination staff has energetically examined regulated securities firms and tackled challenging projects with impressive results.”
Ms. Morrison said, “I feel honored and privileged to have led the Commission’s San Francisco Regional Office in its mission of protecting the investing public. It has been a real pleasure to work with the exceptionally talented and dedicated staff of the San Francisco office, and other Commission offices. I want to thank my colleagues in San Francisco for their extraordinary commitment to the important work of this office and the SEC.”
During Ms. Morrison’s tenure and under her leadership, the San Francisco office brought numerous high profile and significant enforcement actions, including
stock options backdating cases, including against Brocade Communications Systems, its former CEO, two former CFOs and a former VP of Human Resources; and the former General Counsel and former CFO of Apple, Inc.;
financial fraud cases against former top executives at companies including HBO & Co. (later merged into McKesson Corp.), Cutter & Buck, Inc., and NextCard, Inc., and financial reporting cases against Hewlett-Packard, Google, Inc. and Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.;
cases against the General Counsel of Google, Inc. for a registration violation by the company, and against the General Counsel of Electro Scientific Industries, Inc. for causing the company to file false reports with the SEC;
cases against auditors, including a former Ernst & Young partner for altering and destroying audit work papers; and a former Arthur Andersen partner for fraud and improper professional conduct;
a case against Texas insurance company American-Amicable for deceptive sales of securities to 57,000 military personnel;
cases involving mutual funds and investment advisers, including against Franklin Advisers, Inc. alleging market timing, late trading and revenue sharing violations, against Van Wagoner Capital Management alleging fraud, and against Deutsche Asset Management for failure to disclose a conflict of interest.;
cases involving brokerage firms, including against TD Waterhouse for making undisclosed payments to investment advisers, and against UBS PaineWebber, Inc. for failure to supervise a representative who defrauded clients; and
numerous other cases, including for fraud against senior citizens, hedge fund fraud, municipal bond fraud, insider trading, offering frauds and market manipulation.
Also during Ms. Morrison’s tenure, examiners based in San Francisco inspected hundreds of the nation’s registered entities, including broker-dealers, investment advisers, mutual funds, and transfer agents, and led significant risk-targeted examinations to assess potential industry trends and problems.
Before coming to the Commission, Ms. Morrison was a partner at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, where she practiced law from 1986 to 1996. Earlier, she worked as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1985-86) and Hon. Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1984-85).
Ms. Morrison received her J.D. in 1984 from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the California Law Review. She received a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University, after which she worked as a newspaper reporter.