After leaving his post as deputy chief of staff at the Securities and Exchange Commission in December, Alexander Cohen landed in Latham & Watkins’ D.C. office yesterday, where he now co-chairs the corporate finance practice.
Prior to joining the SEC in 2006, Cohen practiced in Latham’s London and Hong Kong offices. He focuses on securities regulation and enforcement, and specializes in advising non-U.S. companies on cross-border securities laws. He says his clients will be predominantly financial institutions and public companies.
At the SEC, Cohen was a deputy general counsel from November 2006 to May 2008 before becoming deputy chief of staff to then-Chairman Christopher Cox.
While at the agency, Cohen worked on a number of rulemakings, including a roadmap to the use of international financial reporting standards for U.S. companies. During his final months, Cohen says he was immersed in the SEC’s response to the turmoil in the financial markets. “That was pretty all-consuming starting in March of last year,” he says. For instance, he advised the commission on the emergency rule issued in July to temporarily curb short-selling of certain financial stocks.
Cohen’s former boss, Cox, who has since been replaced by SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, came under fire for being too soft on enforcement, and thus failing to stem the meltdowns of investment banks or catch frauds, such as Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
In response to those criticisms, Cohen says, “I worked very closely with the chairman, and I think extremely highly of him.