FINRA Announces Departure of Enforcement Head Jessica Hopper
WASHINGTON—FINRA announced today that Jessica Hopper plans to leave FINRA on February 3, after an 18-year tenure culminating in her leadership of the Department of Enforcement. During her time as Head of Enforcement, FINRA brought numerous significant disciplinary actions to protect investors and markets, including its largest-ever enforcement action; prioritized returning money to harmed investors; and completed an initiative to combine previously separate units into an integrated “One Enforcement” department.
Christopher Kelly, Senior Vice President and Deputy Head of Enforcement, has been named the Acting Head of Enforcement until FINRA selects a new Head of Enforcement.
“From her first days as an Enforcement Attorney through her leadership as Executive Vice President, Jessica has contributed immensely to FINRA’s mission to protect investors and ensure market integrity,” said FINRA President and CEO Robert W. Cook. “With Jessica at the helm, the Department of Enforcement returned millions of dollars to wronged investors, vigorously pursued complex cases throughout significant market disruptions, and completed a reorganization that has fostered an even more efficient and effective enforcement program. I thank Jessica for her steadfast commitment to our mission and her long, exceptional service to FINRA.”
“It has been the greatest privilege to lead this talented team of Enforcement professionals, and to work with so many outstanding and dedicated colleagues throughout FINRA over the years,” said Hopper. “Together, we have continually advanced FINRA’s regulatory effectiveness and made a real difference in the financial lives of investors and the safety and soundness of the securities markets. I will always remain deeply humbled and grateful for that experience.”
Hopper has been Executive Vice President and Head of Enforcement since January 2020, after being named Acting Head of Enforcement in September 2019. She has risen through the ranks, having joined FINRA in 2004 as an Enforcement Attorney, and was Director in the Washington D.C. office from 2005 until 2011, when she was promoted to Vice President in charge of the Regional Enforcement program. In 2016, she was named Senior Vice President and Deputy Head of Enforcement.
Under Hopper’s leadership, the Enforcement department:
- fined a member firm $57 million and ordered it to pay $12.6 million to thousands of customers—record sanctions that reflected the seriousness and scope of the systemic supervisory failures and other violations uncovered by FINRA’s investigation;
- brought first-ever disciplinary actions against crowdfunding portals for failing to comply with securities laws and rules designed to protect crowdfunding investors;
- reached an agreement with three firms to pay more than $12 million back to customers for supervisory failures involving the sales of 529 Plan share classes—and in addition, completed implementation of a voluntary reporting initiative that returned additional millions to customers;
- following a targeted examination, reached a settlement requiring six firms to pay nearly $17 million to customers who were charged excessive fees for unit investment trust rollovers;
- in 2020 and 2021 alone, ordered $72.2 million in customer restitution, expelled three firms and suspended five others, and barred 515 individuals and suspended 761 others;
- brought enforcement actions for a broad range of violations of FINRA rules and federal securities laws and regulations, including excessive treading, supervision, anti-money laundering, Reg SHO, best execution of customer orders, customer protection rule, operational failures, reporting requirements, test cheating and failures to provide information in connection with an investigation;
- completed the integration of two distinct enforcement teams within the organization, one handling disciplinary actions related to trading-based matters found through Market Regulation’s surveillance and examination programs, and the other handling cases referred from other regulatory oversight divisions including Member Supervision—the consolidation has facilitated greater efficiency, more consistent decision-making and outcomes, and enhanced transparency of the disciplinary process;
- helped drive greater integration of FINRA’s regulatory programs across Member Supervision, Market Regulation, and Enforcement; and
- addressed the industry’s critical compliance community concerns by issuing a Regulatory Notice clarifying the scope of Chief Compliance Officer liability.
FINRA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry—brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.