Washington, D.C. — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that Susan Merrill, who has headed Enforcement at FINRA and one of its predecessor organizations for more than five years, is stepping down to return to private practice.
Merrill, who became New York Stock Exchange Regulation's enforcement chief in 2004, continued in that role when much of NYSE Regulation merged with NASD in 2007 to form FINRA. Prior to joining NYSE Regulation, she was a partner at the New York law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.
Merrill's departure date has yet to be determined and a search for a successor is underway. The chief of enforcement is responsible for the management of approximately 300 enforcement staff in 17 offices across the United States.
"Susan is an outstanding regulator, whose work on behalf of investors was carried out with vigor and diligence," said Richard Ketchum, FINRA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Under Susan's watch, two enforcement programs were smoothly integrated and harmed investors received significant restitution."
"I had a vision of one, unified enforcement department, a place where all of us had the opportunity to make a difference for investors. I believe that we have truly formed one team," Merrill said. "I am especially proud of the actions we brought regarding auction rate securities, where more than $1 billion was returned to investors. Also, FINRA Enforcement brought important disciplinary actions in the areas of money laundering, mutual fund and variable annuity violations, as well as vigorous actions to shut down Ponzi schemers and discipline those who victimized the elderly."
Merrill joined NYSE Regulation shortly after Ketchum was named chief regulatory officer, and later CEO, of NYSE Regulation. At that time, NYSE Regulation was under regulatory scrutiny, and Merrill brought 18 years of litigation experience in the private sector to revitalize and enhance the enforcement program.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business—from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms; writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws; informing and educating the investing public; providing trade reporting and other industry utilities; and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.finra.org.