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Friday, July 27, 2007

SEC Appoints New Chief Economist

News summary by MFWire's editors

Dr. James A. Overdahl has been named as the SEC's chief economist. He will lead the commission's Office of Economic Analysis. Overdahl has served as chief economist of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission since 2002. Overdahl's predecessor at the SEC, Chester Spatt, returned to academia this month.

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Dr. James A. Overdahl has been named SEC Chief Economist and will lead the Commission's Office of Economic Analysis. Dr. Overdahl has served as Chief Economist of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission since 2002.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said, "The Commission is extremely fortunate to welcome Jim back to the agency at this time. He will bring deep and wide experience to the agency, and his considerable experience as a federal regulator makes him ideally suited to ensure that rigorous economic analysis is fully integrated into the Commission's rulemaking and policymaking process."

Dr. Overdahl, a specialist in financial derivatives, is returning to the SEC, where he served as a Senior Financial Economist in the Office of Economic Analysis from 1989 to 1992. In addition, he has nearly two decades of experience in senior positions at federal financial regulatory agencies. As the CFTC's Chief Economist, he currently leads an independent office with responsibility for providing expert economic advice, including policy analysis, economic research, expert testimony, and education. He previously served as Senior Financial Economist in the Risk Analysis Division of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for seven years, where he performed work in risk assessment and testing of risk measurement models. He also worked for four years as Senior Financial Economist in the CFTC's Division of Economic Analysis, conducting research on derivative instruments and assisting the Division of Enforcement at that agency.

Prior to his government service, Dr. Overdahl was an in-house consultant for Strategic Petroleum, Inc., of Dallas, Texas, on issues involving derivatives trading and asset management. He has taught economics and finance at the University of Texas, Georgetown University, and Johns Hopkins University, and is currently an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Iowa State University in 1984.

Dr. Overdahl is the co-author of several leading financial books in multiple editions, including "Financial Derivatives," "Futures, Options, and Swaps," and "Understanding Futures Markets." He has written extensively on derivatives, trading practices, options, stock exchange regulation, and enforcement related issues, including in the Journal of Law and Economics, The Business Lawyer, the Journal of Derivatives, and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

Dr. Overdahl said, "I look forward to working with Chairman Cox and the Commissioners on the many challenging policy issues before the SEC. I am eager to expand upon the efforts of my predecessors in this position to ensure that rigorous economic analysis is integrated into all aspects of the SEC's operations."

Dr. Overdahl will start at the SEC on Aug. 6, 2007. He replaces Chester Spatt, who is leaving the SEC at the end of July to return as the Mellon Bank Professor of Finance and Director of the Center for Financial Markets at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. 

Edited by: Erin Kello

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