Accounting & Tax

Bush Expected to Nominate Harvey Pitt as SEC Chief

The top Washington securites lawyer could bring a more conservative approach to regulation. StaffMay 7, 2001

According to the Wall Street Journal, President Bush is expected to nominate securities lawyer Harvey Pitt as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The president has reportedly signed off on Pitt’s nomination. An announcement is expected soon.

Pitt, a partner at Washington, D.C.-based Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, is highly respected as a top securities lawyer. The Wall Street community believes he will bring a more conservative, deregulatory approach to the SEC’s activities. His criticism of the SEC’s enforcement process helped lead to faster resolutions of securities-fraud cases, says the Journal.

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Pitt has also defended several clients in fraud cases, most noteably Ivan Boesky, who paid a record $100 million in a settlement of a civil fraud case in 1986.

Still, the Journal says, it’s hard to predict just how Pitt’s tenure could turn out. After all, many thought former chairman Arthur Levitt would be a bigger champion of financial firms than he was, given his background as former chief of the American Stock Exchange.

Pitt emerged as a front-runner a few weeks ago, but the nomination was delayed by the proposal of such last-minute candidates as Gary Lynch, a lawyer and former SEC enforcement chief.