By Cyril Tuohy
Andrew J. Bowden, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance and Inspections and Examinations, is expected to join Jackson National Life as senior vice president and general counsel at the end of the month.
Bowden, the top regulator in charge of advisor examination, joined the SEC in 2011 and was named director in June 2013.
James Sopha, Jackson’s chief operating officer, said in a news release that Bowden’s background, experience and leadership “will be invaluable as Jackson continues to grow its retirement services businesses in North America.”
Jackson’s longtime general counsel Thomas J. Meyer will retire after 30 years at the company, the company said.
Meyer was a key player in the development of the company’s legal and compliance functions around the sale of variable annuities.
Jackson was the top seller of individual variable annuities in the U.S. in 2014 with sales of $23 billion, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. Jackson’s sales were nearly double those of the No. 2 seller, Lincoln Financial, which sold $13 billion worth of individual variable annuities last year.
At the SEC, Bowden helped the OCIE collect large quantities of data to identify exam candidates and conduct more “targeted, data-reliant and impactful examinations,” the SEC said in a statement.
He also oversaw the successful completion of the SEC’s “presence exam” initiative, which provided education and guidance to newly registered investment advisors in the wake of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010.
The SEC also said Bowden helped develop examination initiatives with regard to the use of broker/dealers and investment advisor business models.
SEC Chair Mary Jo White praised Bowden as a “thoughtful, creative and dedicated advocate for investors, OCIE and the Commission.”
“Under his leadership, OCIE has effectively engaged with investors and the industry to promote compliance, worked to detect and prevent fraud, and advised the Commission on policy and developing risks,” White said.
At the OCIE, hundreds of examiners in regional offices administer the SEC's nationwide examination and inspection program.
The examination and inspection program oversees broker/dealers, transfer agents, investment advisors, investment companies, the national securities exchanges, clearing agencies and self-regulatory bodies such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Bowden’s departure is the latest example of what public watchdog groups say is a “revolving door” between regulators and the private sector that spins too quickly and easily.
Earlier this month former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who led the Fed for eight years until January 2014, announced he would become an advisor to Citadel, a big Chicago-based hedge fund.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Bernanke said he joined the fund specifically because it was not regulated by the Federal Reserve and said he won’t be lobbying lawmakers in any way.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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