The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Robert A. Sollazzo, the longtime leader of the New York Regional Office’s Broker-Dealer Examination Program, is planning to retire from the agency in July after more than 38 years of invaluable contributions.
Mr. Sollazzo began his SEC career as a securities compliance examiner and ascended to the helm of the New York office’s broker-dealer regulatory efforts in 1992. As an Associate Regional Director, he and his team have formulated new exam approaches and structured a program that has been particularly responsive and adept in identifying and examining emerging risks in an ever-changing broker-dealer industry.
Mr. Sollazzo and the examiners under his leadership have successfully rooted out abusive sales practice schemes and questionable capital markets practices in the course of their work. Their discoveries led to such notable enforcement cases as a record settlement involving Latour Trading’s significant and persistent violations of the net capital rule, a $100 million settlement with Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. for improper sharing of profits in hot initial public offerings that were channeled back to the firm via excessive commission charges on brokerage transactions, the exposure of a massive kickback scheme at Direct Access Partners that involved a complex web of offshore accounts and a shadow accounting system, and various AML-related matters including Meyers Associates for failing to file Suspicious Activity Reports in relation to various highly questionable transactions that had been executed through the firm.
“Bob saw our Broker-Dealer Examination Program through years of significant change in our markets,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “The Commission has benefited greatly from his wide range of expertise and commitment to public service throughout his nearly four decades at the agency.”
Marc P. Berger, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, said, “Bob is a dedicated public servant who leaves behind a tremendous legacy of protecting investors and our markets. His deep knowledge of the broker-dealer industry and his collaborative, pragmatic approach have shaped the SEC’s examination program for decades, and his service has been an inspiration not just to those in the New York Regional Office but throughout the entire Commission.”
Peter Driscoll, Director of the SEC’s National Exam Program, said, “Bob has displayed tremendous leadership throughout his career, both in New York and nationally. Bob’s leadership has manifested itself in his willingness to develop and teach his staff and colleagues day to day, and also to guide the program during some of the most difficult market events. Bob has always been driven by his strong desire to protect investors and the integrity of the markets and is an amazing example of public service. We are so fortunate that Bob’s legacy will carry on in all those who worked with him, both in the agency and industry.”
Mr. Sollazzo said, “I am extremely thankful for the great opportunity to have worked in the premier regulatory agency on a mission of utmost importance to investors and our markets. When I look back on my professional accomplishments, I realize that none would have been possible without the outstanding people around me day in and day out here at the SEC. Our collective talent and teamwork have made a difference and have helped to enhance the regulatory environment. I’m proud to call my colleagues my friends and thank them for shaping my career.”
Mr. Sollazzo was a recipient of the SEC’s highest individual honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in 2003. He also has received a Presidential Rank Award that was bestowed by President Bill Clinton. Mr. Sollazzo is a graduate of Brooklyn College and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in New York.