US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has appointed a new director to its Division of Trading and Markets.
Robert Cook, previously a partner at law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, will take the position following his experience as a practitioner in broker-dealer and market regulation. His experience includes working on OTC derivatives transactions, new financial products and structures, securities trading and compliance matters. His clients included US and foreign broker-dealers, banks, exchanges, electronic trading platforms and institutional investors.
“Investors will benefit greatly from the knowledge, leadership and insight that Robert will bring to the agency,” said Mary Schapiro, chairman of the SEC, in a statement. “Robert has an incredible grasp of the issues confronting the Division and a deep understanding of securities markets.”
The SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets is responsible for establishing and maintaining standards for fair, orderly, and efficient markets. It has recently launched a probe into non-displayed liquidity pools in the US and has made three proposals aimed at increasing transparency in dark pools. These include: requiring ‘actionable’ indications of interest (IOIs) to be published as quotes; lowering the level at which dark pools must make quotes public to 0.25% of a stock’s average daily traded volume from 5%; and forcing dark pools to report trading volumes individually on the consolidated tape. The division is also exploring the effect of high-frequency trading on market structure and quality.
The division also regulates major securities market participants, including broker-dealers, credit rating agencies, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and clearing agencies.