Leading Attorneys, Regulators Tackle the Hottest Topics in Securities Law

Professor John C. Coffee Jr. and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar Meyer Eisenberg '58 Host "Current Issues in Securities Regulation: The Hot Topics," a Daylong Discussion of High-Frequency Trading, Dark Pools, and Much More

New York, December 2, 2014—High-frequency trading. Dark pools. The SEC’s “Broken Windows” policy. Money market funds. The increased use of administrative proceedings by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

 Professor John C. Coffee Jr.
These are just a few of the controversial and timely topics that drew some of the securities industry’s leading regulators, entrepreneurs, and practitioners to Columbia Law School for the annual securities regulation conference organized by Professor John C. Coffee Jr. and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar Meyer Eisenberg ’58.
The Nov. 21 daylong event, “Current Issues in Securities Regulation: The Hot Topics,” featured candid discussions with some of the field’s top names, including: SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein; U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, of the Southern District of New York; Max W. Berger ’71, senior founding partner at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann; James Doty, chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board; Brad S. Karp, chair of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Christopher Meade, general counsel of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Douglas Cifu ’90, chief executive officer of Virtu Financial; John Ramsay, chief market policy and regulatory officer of IEX Group; Matthew C. Solomon, chief litigation counsel at the SEC; Richard Zabel, deputy U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York; and Antonia M. Apps, a partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
 SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein, left, and U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff
of the Southern District of New York

Coffee, the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law and director of the Center on Corporate Governance, set the tone of the conference in introductory remarks, telling attendees they would be hearing from “an all-star cast.”
“The goal is to be interactive,” he said. “To provoke some disagreement.”
Throughout the day, the panelists debated a wide range of issues, including whether the SEC is excessively targeting minor violations—the “broken windows” approach—in lieu of more complex cases, whether defendants receive due process in SEC administrative proceedings, whether the Department of Justice relies excessively on “deferred prosecution agreements,” the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Halliburton II decision on plaintiffs’ attorneys, and much more.
Columbia Law School faculty speak at the event, including (l-r) Professors Merritt B. Fox,
Harvey J. Goldschmid '65, and Jeffrey N. Gordon.

During a lunchtime keynote address, Commissioner Stein devoted her remarks to the importance of transparency in the securities markets, calling for better disclosures for investors before and after trading.
“In no small part due to transparency, America continues to have the most vibrant securities markets in the world,” she said. “But there is still room for improvement.”
Participants also heard from Doty, chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a body created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to supervise and upgrade the audits of public companies. The board recently proposed that the audit engagement partner be specifically named in a firm’s audit opinion. Doty answered questions from Coffee and Professor Harvey J. Goldschmid ’65 in a Q&A session.
The conference was sponsored by The Stephen Friedman Fund in Business Law and the Securities Law Section of the Federal Bar Association.
(l-r) Max W. Berger '71, James R. Doty, and Brad S. Karp
(l-r) Christopher J. Meade, Douglas Cifu '90, and John Ramsay
(l-r) Matthew C. Solomon, Richard B. Zabel, and Antonia M. Apps