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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chief Economist to Depart the SEC

News summary by MFWire's editors

Chester Spatt, the SEC's chief economist and director of the office of economic analysis, will leave the commission to return to academia at the end of July. Spatt, who has been with the SEC for three years, will rejoin Carnegie Mellon University. At the SEC, Spatt led the economic analysis of issues including mutual fund market timing and late trading, option grant and exercise backdating, executive compnesation and executive compensation, among others.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that Chester Spatt, Chief Economist and Director of the Office of Economic Analysis (OEA), will leave the agency to return to academia at the end of July.

Dr. Spatt will rejoin Carnegie Mellon University, where he serves as Mellon Bank Professor of Finance and Director of the Center for Financial Markets at the Tepper School of Business. His research and teaching there will focus upon economic issues related to securities regulation as well as asset allocation and taxes.

During his three years at the Commission, Dr. Spatt led the staff’s economic analysis of key issues including implementation of options expensing through models and markets, mutual fund market timing and late trading, option grant and exercise backdating, executive compensation, Regulation SHO, shareholder voting, credit rating agencies and NRSROs, foreign private issuer deregistration and the economics of penalties and sanctions. In addition, he focused on fostering stronger ties between the Commission and the academic community, encouraging greater participation from academic experts in the rulemaking process.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said, “After completing his initial term with the Commission on leave from Carnegie Mellon during 2006, Chester graciously agreed to extend his service to the SEC and the nation’s investors for another year. His exceptional background, expertise and judgment concerning the economic underpinnings of our securities markets have been invaluable resources to the Commission. He has been a strong leader of a very talented staff, and all of us at the Commission are deeply indebted to him for his personal and professional contributions to the nation’s markets and investors.”

Dr. Spatt said, “I appreciate the opportunity to have led OEA and its talented and dedicated staff for the past three years. Economics plays such a crucial role in the development of strong, efficient and fair capital markets, so I have tried to focus upon the importance of economics in the regulatory process. I know that with strong leadership from Chairman Cox, the Commission will continue to incorporate economic reasoning in its actions to the benefit of investors and markets.”

Dr. Spatt has held academic positions at Carnegie Mellon since 1979, along with visiting professorships at Toulouse University, University of British Columbia and Princeton University. He was one of the founders of the Review of Financial Studies, considered among the leading journals in financial economics, and served as its second Executive Editor. He also is a Past President of both the Western Finance Association and the Society for Financial Studies. He received his Ph.D. and Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Princeton University.  

Edited by: Erin Kello

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