Robert W. Cook
Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Mr. Cook's practice focuses on the regulation of securities markets and market intermediaries, including broker-dealers, exchanges, alternative trading systems and clearing agencies. He also has extensive experience in the regulation of swaps and other financial products. Mr. Cook has been distinguished as one of the leading broker-dealer regulation lawyers by Chambers USA.
From January 2010 to January 2013, Mr. Cook served as the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Under Mr. Cook’s direction, the Division’s 250 professionals were responsible for regulatory policy and oversight with respect to securities exchanges and markets, broker-dealers, security-based swap dealers, clearing agencies, and credit rating agencies. In addition, the Division reviewed and acted on over 2000 rule filings and new product listings each year from self-regulatory organizations, including the securities exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
During Mr. Cook’s service with the SEC, the Division was also responsible for implementing more than 30 major rulemakings and studies generated by the Dodd-Frank and JOBS Acts. These included creating a new regulatory regime for security-based swaps, implementing the Volcker Rule, enhancing broker-dealer financial responsibility requirements, reviewing the standards of conduct applicable to broker-dealers and investment advisers, and implementing various projects relating to the work of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.
While serving as the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets, Mr. Cook also oversaw several significant market structure initiatives including the adoption of enhanced risk controls for traders with access to the securities markets, large trader registration and reporting rules, and consolidated audit trail rules. He also directed the staff’s review of equity market structure and its analysis of the “Flash Crash” of May 6, 2010, as well as its work on regulatory responses such as single-stock circuit breakers, updated market-wide circuit breakers, and more transparent trade cancellation rules.
Mr. Cook joined the firm in 1992, became a partner in 2001, left Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP to join the SEC at the end of 2009 and then rejoined the firm in 2013. He received a J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1992, an M.Sc. degree from the London School of Economics in 1989 and an undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 1988.
Mr. Cook is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
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