The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced today it's changing the name of the Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation - often referred to as RiskFin - to the less nickname-friendly Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, to be known as DERA.
The division's new name will "better reflect its core responsibilities and focus," the SEC said in a statement.
Adding the word "economic" to the division's name may also be a signal from new SEC chair Mary Jo White that she’s serious about the subject. The SEC in recent years has suffered a series of stinging losses in court for failing to do rigorous economic analysis of proposed rules.
For example, the SEC’s proxy access rules were shot down in 2011 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which ruled that the agency “inconsistently and opportunistically framed the costs and benefits of the rule [and] failed adequately to quantify the certain costs or to explain why those costs could not be quantified.”
In a written statement, White said that the division “serves a central role in the SEC's ongoing commitment to rigorous economic analysis.” The new name “reflects the breadth of its still-expanding responsibilities."
RiskFin was created in 2009 by merging the Office of Economic Analysis, Office of Risk Assessment and Office of Interactive Data. It was the first new SEC division 37 years and has almost doubled its staff since its inception. According to the SEC’s 2014 budget request, the division now has about 90 employees, up from 56 in 2012.
It’s led by SEC Chief Economist Craig Lewis, who said he was “thrilled that this new name will emphasize the twin goals of the division: to provide robust and transparent economic analyses in support of Commission rulemaking and policy development, and enhance data-driven risk analytics to help focus the agency's resources on matters presenting the greatest perceived risk."