Leonard H. Rossen ’55 was a former official with the Securities and Exchange Commission who spent a quarter of a century with the agency, eventually serving in regional administration roles in California. He passed away on February 24, 2011, at the age of 78.
A graduate of the City College of New York, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, Rossen joined the SEC in 1962, working on securities enforcement under Irving Pollack, who later became an SEC commissioner, and Stanley Sporkin, who was named to the federal bench in the District of Columbia in 1985. Rossen recalled that his first years with the agency were spent with the “tiniest staff you could ever imagine.”
Rossen was later sent west, where he served as an associate regional administrator in the San Francisco office and, later, as regional administrator in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
One of the more memorable cases Rossen worked on during his time in California was the SEC lawsuit against the cosmetics and multilevel-marketing firm Holiday Magic, which was charged with defrauding approximately 80,000 people out of some $250 million and decried by government officials as a pyramid scheme.
Rossen retired from the SEC in 1987 and later worked as vice president and regional counsel of the Equitable Financial Companies. But he told a 2003 roundtable held by the SEC Historical Society that nothing in his career compared with his work as a regulator. “The most enjoyable part of my professional life was the commission time,” he said. “Nothing has ever come close to the rewards that it provided then.”