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The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Daniel Michael has been named chief of the Enforcement Divisions Complex Financial Instruments Unit.

In his new role, Mr. Michael will lead a specialized unit of attorneys and industry experts who are located in offices across the country and investigate potential misconduct related to complex financial products and practices involving sophisticated market participants.

Mr. Michael joined the SEC in 2010, and has served as an assistant director based in the New York Regional Office since 2014. He has played a key role in a number of significant enforcement actions, including charges against Merrill Lynch for violating the SECs Customer Protection Rule.

Dan is a perfect complement to the highly experienced CFI team, and as a strong leader, he will bring tremendous judgment and a deep appreciation for the ways in which complex products can be used to take advantage of investors, said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SECs Enforcement Division.

Opaque and complex markets such as those policed by CFI provide many opportunities for new types of misconduct that harm retail investors, and Dan is committed to combating it in whatever form it takes, said Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SECs Enforcement Division.

I am honored to have the opportunity to work alongside the talented and dedicated members of the Complex Financial Instruments Unit, said Mr. Michael. The unit has successfully identified and pursued fraud in some of the most challenging areas of the markets, and I look forward to building on the important work the CFI team has done to protect investors from wrongdoing involving complex products and trading schemes.

Among other significant enforcement actions under Mr. Michaels purview have been the SECs charges against:

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co., for misstating financial results and lacking effective internal controls to detect and prevent its traders from fraudulently overvaluing investments to conceal hundreds of millions of dollars in trading losses
  • Bank of America Corporation, for violating internal controls and recordkeeping provisions of the federal securities laws after it assumed a large portfolio of structured notes and other financial instruments as part of its acquisition of Merrill Lynch
  • Two Wall Street traders involved in a fraudulent parking scheme in which one temporarily placed securities in the others trading book to avoid penalties that would affect his year-end bonus


Before joining the SEC, Mr. Michael worked in private practice in New York City and was a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, and his B.A. magna cum laude from New York University.

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