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U.S. SEC’s Investment Management chief A. Donohue to leave in November

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Andrew J. Donohue
Opalesque Industry Update – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has confirmed that its top mutual fund regulator Andrew J. “Buddy” Donohue is leaving the agency after serving more than four years as Director of the Division of Investment Management.

In a statement, SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro recognized Donohue’s contributions to the commission’s efforts in reforming the financial system.

Schapiro said: "Buddy has been an effective leader and investor advocate during his tenure at the Commission. ... We are grateful for his practical insights and innovative guidance, and thank him for his tremendous commitment to public service."

Donohue said: "I will forever value my time at the Commission and its remarkable mission that I feel fortunate to have been a part of."

During his stint as head of the mutual fund division, Donohue was credited for helping develop key regulations governing the $39tln asset management industry, including investor-oriented rules to improve oversight of money market funds, increase investment adviser custody controls, and curtail investment adviser "pay-to-play" abuses.

Indeed, Donohue is credited for crafting a new rule that bans asset managers from making campaign contributions to elected officials with the aim of securing contracts to manage public pension funds, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Early this year, Donohue questioned whether investors were being given “appropriate protections” in some collective-trust agreements. Current law does not require collective trusts to register as mutual funds on the assumption that banks have full investment authority over the trusts’ investments.

The SEC official said in his speech to the Practicing Law Institute in New York that his division was studying whether SEC “regulatory recommendations” are necessary to correct the situation.

Prior to joining the SEC, the 59-year-old Donahue served as General Counsel for Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, where he oversaw the legal and regulatory compliance duties for more than $500bn in assets including mutual funds, fixed income funds, hedge funds, private equities, and managed futures. He was also Chairman of Merrill Lynch’s Global Risk Oversight Committee.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Donohue will leave the commission while in the thick of drafting the rules regarding the recent passage of the new financial law that requires hedge fund managers to register with the SEC and provide information on their leverage and positions.

Donohue has not revealed any plans after formally exiting the SEC this November.

- Precy Dumlao

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