Risk Assessment Division of SEC Has New Head

Jack Humphrey, Regulatory journalist
May 23, 2011 /

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has named a Madison S. Wigginton Professor of Finance at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management as the new chief of its risk assessment division.

Craig Lewis, a certified public accountant, will oversee the SEC’s Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation (RiskFin) and the agency’s economists starting June 2011 after his stint as a visiting scholar at the SEC.

The SEC recently appointed James Burns as the agency’s Deputy Chief of Staff after having him as member of Schapiro’s staff since March 2010, working chiefly on issues involving the Division of Trading and Markets.

RiskFin was created in September 2009 to provide interdisciplinary analysis to help inform the Commission’s policy-making, rule-making, enforcement and examinations.

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said Lewis has a “clear understanding of the complexities of financial markets.”
Aside from assuming the top post in the risk assessment division, Lewis will also “help to inject strong data-driven analysis into the SEC’s decision-making process.”

From January to July 2010, Lewis has been a visiting academic fellow at the SEC and returned to that capacity in January this year, during which he has provided advisory services on policy issues, worked on developing analytic approaches to identify violations of securities laws, and analyzed the over-the-counter derivative securities market.

Over this period, Lewis has gained important insights into the agency’s inner workings according to Schapiro, who said she believed the tours gave him a unique position to fulfill her vision for the Division.

Lewis, on the other hand, expressed his gratitude to Schapiro and said he looked forward to “fostering durable new analytic models that will promote efficient and effective work throughout the agency, from rule-writing to enforcement.”

Lewis has been a faculty member at Vanderbilt University since 1986, teaching corporate finance and economics. He has already received several awards for excellence in teaching.

He has also been a visiting professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Donau University in Austria, and Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.

His works included several publications about volatility in stock and futures markets, margin adequacy, corporate earnings management, corporate financial policy, executive compensation, selective disclosure, and herd behavior by equity analysts.

The risk assessment and financial strategy division of SEC acts as a think tank and covers the agency’s former Office of Economic Analysis, Office of Risk Assessment, and Office of Interactive Disclosure.

The Division has staffers who have expertise in economics, risk analysis, finance, law, mathematics and statistics.


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