Two senior lawyers at the Securities & Exchange Commission are headed to law firms, while an agency veteran is returning from the private sector to serve as a deputy director in the Division of Trading and Markets.
Christopher Conte, an associate director in the Division of Enforcement, is leaving after nearly 18 years at the SEC to become a partner at Steptoe & Johnson. And Brian Breheny, the deputy director for legal and regulatory policy in the division of Corporation Finance, is joining the Washington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom as a partner after seven years with the SEC.
At the same time, John Ramsay returns to the SEC from the Regulatory Fundamentals Group - a private consulting firm.
Conte played a lead role in the SEC's enforcement actions against Dell Inc. and its senior officers and against former executives at Comverse Technology. He also helped guide the SEC's cases against Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Roberson Stephens Inc. involving unlawful IPO allocation practices, according to the SEC.
He began working at the SEC as a staff attorney in November 1992 and was promoted to the positions of branch chief in 1997, deputy assistant director in 1999, and assistant director in 2000. Conte became an associate director in October 2006.
Breheny joined the SEC from Clifford Chance in July 2003 as chief of the SEC’s Office of Mergers and Acquisitions, and in November 2007 he became a deputy director with responsibility for the Corporate Finance Division’s legal and regulatory policy support offices.
He worked on rule amendments in areas including shareholder director nominations, tender offers, beneficial ownership reporting, electronic delivery of proxy materials, electronic shareholder forums, short sale disclosure, and proxy voting and shareholder communications.
Ramsay, the new deputy director in the Division of Trading and Markets, will oversee several core regulatory functions, focusing in particular on broker-dealer financial responsibility and clearance and settlement. He’s also expected to play a key role in the division’s portion of the SEC-wide implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Between 1989 and 1994, Ramsay served with the SEC as deputy chief counsel for the Division of Market Regulation (now the Division of Trading and Markets) and as counsel to then-Commissioner Mary Schapiro.
Earlier this month, the SEC also announced that Andrew "Buddy" Donohue, 59, plans to leave the SEC in November after serving more than four years as director of the Division of Investment Management.