In surprise, Rominger retiring after short stint at SEC

Head of Division of Investment Management leaving after 16 months on the job; in the crossfire on key issues

Jun 15, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

Eileen Rominger, one of the Securities and Exchange Commission's top officials with jurisdiction over investment advisers, will be retiring from the agency next month, according to a statement the commission released Friday.

Ms. Rominger, director of the Division of Investment Management, departs after having served since February 2011.

She came to the SEC after nearly 30 years as a portfolio manager on Wall Street. Prior to joining the commission, she was global chief investment officer at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where she worked for 11 years. Before Goldman, she was with Oppenheimer Capital for 18 years as a portfolio manager, managing director and a member of the firm's executive committee.

In appearances before congressional committees, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro has emphasized that one way she was improving the agency's effectiveness was by hiring staff with financial industry experience. Ms. Rominger often was of the first examples Ms. Schapiro would cite.

It isn't clear whether Ms. Rominger's departure was planned, or whether she has future work plans. An SEC spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Ms. Rominger, 57, was in a key position to influence investment adviser regulation, such as the SEC's work on a potential rule that would harmonize oversight of advisers and brokers and impose a universal fiduciary duty on anyone giving retail investment advice.

She also has been in the crossfire on the controversial issue of money-market mutual fund regulation. The industry is strongly opposing further reforms. The SEC has not yet promulgated a proposed rule, but Ms. Schapiro has indicated that she favors moving ahead with further tightening of regulation.

Ms. Rominger is scheduled to address a Mutual Fund Directors Forum policy conference Tuesday at which she likely will talk about money-fund regulation.

The Division of Investment Management is at the heart of the implementation of about 90 rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

“Eileen understood the importance of a fair and efficient investment management industry to the well-being of investors everywhere,” Ms. Schapiro said in a statement. “Her practical insights and steadfast leadership served investors well.”

Ms. Rominger said in the same statement: “It has been a privilege to work with the talented and dedicated staff of the SEC in its mission of protecting investors.”

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