Washington D.C., Sept. 28, 2021 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Dan Berkovitz has been named SEC General Counsel, effective Nov. 1. John Coates will leave the agency in October and return to teaching at Harvard University. Michael Conley, currently the SEC’s Solicitor, will serve as Acting General Counsel upon Coates’s departure until Berkovitz joins the agency.
Berkovitz has served as a Commissioner of the CFTC since September 2018 after being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Prior to his appointment, Berkovitz was a partner and co-chair of the futures and derivatives practice at the law firm of WilmerHale. He also was an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law School and vice-chair of the American Bar Association Committee on Derivatives and Futures Law. He previously served as the CFTC’s General Counsel from 2009 to 2013. Earlier in his career, Berkovitz was a senior staff lawyer for the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management. He obtained an A.B. in Physics from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
“I had the opportunity to work with Dan at the CFTC, and I’m thrilled to once again work with him on matters essential to our financial markets,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “Dan is a dedicated public servant and was instrumental in both informing and implementing the Dodd-Frank Act. As General Counsel, he navigated the CFTC through dozens of rulemakings to enhance regulatory oversight of the swaps markets, and he has remained a steadfast public servant as a Commissioner. He will be invaluable in our work at the SEC.”
“I am honored to join the SEC at this critical time for our capital markets,” Berkovitz said. “Having worked with the SEC in my roles at the CFTC, I’ve long admired the dedicated and talented staff of the agency from afar. I’m excited to work again with Chair Gensler on a regulatory agenda that will enhance investor protection, strengthen our capital markets, and facilitate capital formation.”
Coates was named Acting Director of the Division of Corporation Finance in February 2021 and SEC General Counsel in June. Coates provided counsel on numerous legal and policy issues, including topics on the Commission’s ambitious regulatory agenda. He advised and advanced the agency’s mission on “meme stock” volatility, special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), the proxy system, disclosures of climate-related financial risks and human capital, insider trading, and the Treasury market. His work helped lay a foundation for significant rulemaking initiatives, managing through the surge in traditional initial public offerings and SPACs, counseling on the defense of legal challenges to Commission regulations and orders, and advising on enforcement actions.
“I thank John for his many valuable contributions to the SEC,” said Chair Gensler. “John has been a remarkable counsel and counselor. He’s brought to the job excellent judgment, knowledge of the securities markets, and an ability to connect with colleagues and foster collaboration. I am grateful for his service and wish him well.”
“It has been an incredible honor to serve during this transition year with the talented and dedicated SEC staff, under the leadership of two visionary Chairs,” said Coates. “I owe Chair Gensler my profound gratitude for his trust, confidence, and boundless energy. I am equally grateful to Commissioner Allison Herren Lee in her role as Acting Chair for inviting me to help build momentum on a range of important initiatives, at a pivotal moment in the evolution of U.S. capital markets, as investors are seeking better information about new financial risks and sources of value. I particularly want to express my appreciation to the many colleagues I had the privilege to meet and work with across the agency. Their expertise and professionalism, courage and commitment, enthusiasm and diligence are and will remain clear in my mind for the rest of my career, and my only regret is that my family commitments currently prevent me from continuing to join them in their crucial endeavors.”