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Ex-SEC director’s book peels back layers

Norm Champ

People who've wondered what the Securities and Exchange Commission is really like can experience it through Norm Champ's upcoming book, “Going Public: My Adventures Inside the SEC and How to Prevent the Next Devastating Crisis.”

Mr. Champ, a former partner and general counsel at hedge fund firm Chilton Investment Co., joined the agency in 2010, first as deputy director in the examination division and then as director of the division of investment management.

Since 2008, he has held a teaching post at Harvard Law School, where his SEC tales led Dean Martha Minow to insist that he write it down. “Part of it is about the craziness of government” following the Bernie Madoff scandal and others, Mr. Champ said. “We were trying to turn the ship.”

Mr. Champ is proud of his efforts to interact more with the regulated community. He also spent time prodding agency divisions to collaborate more. Despite an entrenched bureaucracy, “a lot of good things happened,” he said.

Those experiences enrich the investment management class he continues to teach at Harvard. “Now I try to get behind why — why do we have this system? It is designed so asset managers don't advantage themselves. They are supposed to look out for the interests of their clients.”

He said clients at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York, where he is a partner, appreciate his SEC perspective. “They seem to like it, and I'm enjoying it, too.”

The book, published by McGraw-Hill Education, is due out in January.

This article originally appeared in the June 13, 2016 print issue as, "Ex-SEC director's book peels back layers".