Allison H. Lee of Colorado has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to fill the open Democratic slot for commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Lee will serve out the remainder of a five-year term expiring June 5, 2022, for the seat that was vacated by former Commissioner Kara Stein, who left the agency at the beginning of 2019. Stein’s term expired in 2017, but commissioners may serve up to 18 months beyond the expiration of their terms.
During her confirmation hearing, Lee emphasized the importance of the SEC in ensuring that investors are taking the kinds of risk they sign up for, such as business and economic risk, and not the risk of fraud or poorly structured or opaque markets that may disadvantage investors.
“We are a nation of investors, both retail and institutional, protected by the SEC. This protection is especially important as we continue the shift away from employer pensions toward individual plans in which people must fund and select their own retirement assets and manage their own risk,” she testified in early June.
Lee previously served as Enforcement Counsel in the SEC’s Denver office from 2005 to 2013, followed by a 16-month stint at SEC headquarters as legal counsel to former Commissioner Stein.
In 2015, Lee returned to the Denver office as Senior Counsel in the Complex Financial Instruments Unit. Since January 2018, she has been a corporate governance consultant with Congress Park Consulting, LLC in Washington, DC. Lee has also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. Prior to her government service, Lee was a litigation partner at Sherman & Howard, LLC in Denver, Colorado.
With Lee’s confirmation, the SEC is temporarily back at full force with five commissioners — three Republicans (Chairman Jay Clayton, Hester Peirce and Elad Roisman) and two Democrats (Robert Jackson, Jr. and Lee). Jackson’s term expires in June 2019 and he has indicated that he plans to leave by this fall.
Lee’s confirmation also comes as the SEC now embarks on a mission to educate retail investors about the key differences between broker-dealers and investment advisers under the commission’s newly finalized Regulation Best Interest and related package of rules and interpretations.