The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on April 9 tapped the second-in-command of its examination office to take the place of its departing director, promoting to “top cop” a former hedge fund manager who helped form the SEC unit that oversees private funds, the office’s Private Fund Examination Unit.
Marc Wyatt will become acting director of the agency’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations once current director Andrew Bowden leaves at the end of April. Bowden, who only recently announced his departure, said he will rejoin the private sector, but did not specify where he will end up. Wyatt is the OCIE’s current deputy director, leading the office’s technology controls program.
By way of reminder, OCIE is the head examination office within the SEC. It conducts exams for investment advisers and companies, broker-dealers, market oversight, and clearance and settlement. Wyatt, who specializes in the workings of private equity and hedge funds, joined the OCIE in 2012 as a senior specialized examiner. Before coming to the SEC, Wyatt was a principal and senior portfolio manager at Stark Investments where he served as chief executive of Stark Investments U.K. Ltd. and was responsible for the fund's European activities.
The outgoing Bowden made waves last year when he warned of mass compliance failures within the private equity sector. Bowden told a gathering of private equity industry compliance officers that a recent SEC exam initiative had found more than half of private equity firms appeared to be violating laws or had material weaknesses around how they were assessing fees and expenses on investors and others. The speech has been seen as indicating the intention of OCIE to focus on fees and expenses in the private equity sector, large swaths of which came under the SEC’s watch with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. Wyatt’s appointment as overall head of OCIE seems destined to ensure that the SEC’s close focus on private funds under Andrew Bowden is not likely to abate.