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Vanderbilt Professor Craig Lewis Named SEC Chief Economist and Director of RiskFin Division

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The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Craig M. Lewis has been named SEC Chief Economist and Director of the Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation (RiskFin).

Dr. Lewis, the Madison S. Wigginton Professor of Finance at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, is currently a visiting scholar at the SEC and will assume his new role next month. RiskFin was created in September 2009 to provide interdisciplinary analysis to help inform the Commission’s policymaking, rulemaking, enforcement and examinations.

“Professor Lewis is a distinguished economist with a clear understanding of the complexities of financial markets,” said SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro. “As the head of the Division, he will not only lead our qualified team of expert economists, but will also help to inject strong data-driven analysis into the SEC’s decision-making process.

Dr. Lewis first served as a visiting academic fellow at the SEC from January to July 2010, and subsequently returned in that same capacity in January 2011. Over this period he has provided advice on policy issues, worked on developing analytic approaches to identify violations of securities laws, and analyzed the over-the-counter derivative securities market.

“His two tours as a visiting academic fellow at the SEC give him important insights into the agency’s inner workings and uniquely position him to fulfill my vision of the Division,” added Chairman Schapiro.

Dr. Lewis said, “I am honored that Chairman Schapiro has offered me the opportunity to lead the Division and the SEC’s economists at this critical juncture. I look forward to fostering durable new analytic models that will promote efficient and effective work throughout the agency, from rule-writing to enforcement.”

Dr. Lewis has taught corporate finance and economics since 1983 and has been on the faculty at Vanderbilt since 1986. He has won multiple awards for teaching excellence and has been a visiting professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Donau University in Austria, and Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Lewis has published research on volatility in stock and futures markets, margin adequacy, corporate earnings management, corporate financial policy, executive compensation, selective disclosure, and herd behavior by equity analysts.

Dr. Lewis is a certified public accountant and received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Ohio State University. He completed his master’s and doctorate degrees in finance at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

RiskFin, the SEC’s first new division in 37 years, was created to act as the agency’s “think tank.” The Division encompasses the former Office of Economic Analysis, Office of Risk Assessment, and Office of Interactive Disclosure. Its staffers have expertise in disciplines including economics, risk analysis, finance, law, mathematics and statistics.

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