Daniel Gallagher (2nd from right), class of 1999 and deputy director of the SEC's Division of Trading and Markets, was the keynote speaker at this year's Securities Alumni Association Luncheon. Under Professor David Lipton, (right) the event has become a highly anticipated yearly get together.
Securities Law Alumni Reconnect Over Annual Luncheon
For dozens of Catholic University law school alumni who practice in the field of securities law, it has gradually become the “don’t miss” event of the season. Each November, area practitioners gather at the Army Navy Club in downtown Washington, D.C. to renew friendships, mentor current CUA law students and take in a presentation from a noted practitioner in the field about the latest developments in the securities law.
2009’s event unfolded on Nov. 12 with the familiar elements intact. Approximately 75 graduates of CUA law gathered once again to hear Professor David Lipton, director of the Securities Law Program, bring them up to date on news within the law school and also from within the extended securities alumni association community.
Lipton discussed the need for continued support of the securities law scholarship program, and previewed some upcoming events planned for the spring.
He then introduced keynote speaker Daniel M. Gallagher, CUA law class of 1999 and deputy director in the SEC's Division of Trading and Markets since 2008.
Gallagher focused his remarks on the history of the SEC’s regulatory involvement with credit rating agencies, companies that assigns credit ratings for issuers of certain types of debt obligations as well as the debt instruments themselves.
For many years, the SEC’s oversight authority over such agencies was minimal, a situation that Lipton called “one of the most critical failures” in the cascade of financial malfunctions that led to the current recession.
But over time, Congress has gradually increased the SEC’s enforcement power to audit and examine the practices of credit-rating agencies.
In 2008, the SEC conducted its first-ever examination of the big three: Fitch’s, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. Investigators uncovered some sloppy and inaccurate internal processes that have since led to the issuance of new federal regulations.
“We think it is a step in the right direction,” said Gallagher, noting that his agency’s supervisory role may grow even larger if Congress passes the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009.
“It will be interesting to see what the regulatory climate is like this time next year,” he concluded.
As is usually the case, the luncheon guests left with some new professional insights, some new friends and a fuller appreciation of the successes of the Columbus School of Law in the securities law practice.