Robert Khuzami, director, Division of Enforcement, SEC.
Top SEC Official Speaks to Securities Law Students at Catholic University
The past few years have been bumpy for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has found itself under increased scrutiny from congress and the media for its handling of some high-profile cases of financial malfeasance.
Today, the agency’s operations and reputation are reinvigorated, due in no small part to the effort of Robert Khuzami, the SEC’s director of the division of enforcement. Khuzami oversees one of the most powerful tools in the federal government’s arsenal, one that is authorized to investigate and prosecute many of the most powerful corporate and financial interests in the world.
At the invitation of Professor David Lipton, director of the Securities Law Program, Khuzami took time out from his pressing schedule on Sept. 13 to speak to the Securities Law Program and the Securities Law Student Association at Catholic University about his approach to the job, and also described the changes he has made since taking over the enforcement division in March, 2009.
Khuzami’s hour-long address covered some of the best-known cases the SEC has handled in recent years, such as the recent securities fraud action against Goldman Sachs which resulted in the largest civil penalty ever leveled against an investment banking firm.
The director also described the organizational changes he has implemented within the division of enforcement itself. He inherited a top-heavy structure that featured one manager for every three employees. Khuzami has since adjusted the ratio. He formed specialized units within the division and also created a sort of chief operating officer position that manages daily operations.
Before coming to the SEC, Khuzami served as general counsel for the Americas at Deutsche Bank A. Prior to that, he spent 11 years as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he ran its securities and commodities fraud task force for three years.
While both positions were great experience builders for his current job, Khuzami says “my six or seven years at Deutsche Bank were even more helpful than my experience as a prosecutor.”
Two Catholic University Securities Law Program alumni, Margaret McGuire, 2002, and Christina McGlosson-Wilson, 1998, are top aides to Khuzami and were instrumental in arranging his rare lecture to law students.