New chief counsel in SEC Div. of Trading and Markets

Washington, D.C., July 21, 2011 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that David W. Blass has been named Chief Counsel and Associate Director for the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets.

The Division’s Office of Chief Counsel provides legal and policy advice to the Commission in establishing rules on matters affecting broker-dealers and the operation of the securities markets. The office also issues interpretations regarding matters arising under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Mr. Blass will begin his new role in September. He currently serves at the SEC as Associate General Counsel for Legal Policy, where he provides advice to the Commission on a wide range of matters, with a particular emphasis on trading and markets, investment management, legislative, and international matters. Mr. Blass previously served as a Branch Chief and Special Counsel in the Division of Trading and Markets, and later headed the Office of Investment Adviser Regulation in the Division of Investment Management.

In private practice, Mr. Blass was Special Counsel in the Asset Management Group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and previously practiced securities and corporate law at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

“Both at the SEC and in private practice, David has distinguished himself by providing strong leadership and excellent judgment,” said Robert Cook, Director of the Division of Trading and Markets. “His demonstrated ability to analyze complex legal matters and to develop practical solutions will be invaluable to both the Division and the Commission in fulfilling our mission.”

“David will be a great asset to the Division, bringing to the job the breadth of his experience,” said SEC General Counsel Mark Cahn. “While I will miss his wise counsel, I am glad that we will be able to work with him in his new position.”

Mr. Blass said, “It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve as the Division’s Chief Counsel. I look forward to working with a talented and dedicated team of attorneys in the Office of Chief Counsel, as well as all the hard-working professionals throughout the Commission, at a time when our nation's investors and markets face unprecedented change and challenges as well as significant opportunities.”

Mr. Blass, 40, has received a number of awards during his career at the SEC, most recently the SEC’s Law and Policy Award for his efforts on implementation of financial reform legislation and the Chairman’s Award for Excellence for his work as a member of the Commission’s cross-divisional team that analyzed and reported on the events of May 6, 2010.

Mr. Blass earned his JD from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Executive Editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. Mr. Blass earned his BA, magna cum laude, from the University of Alabama, where he was Phi Beta Kappa.

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