Published on Jan 6th, 2014 | Posted in Articles

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Michael J. Osnato, Jr. has been named chief of the Enforcement Division unit that conducts investigations into complex financial instruments.

Mr. Osnato, who joined the SEC staff in 2008 and has served as an assistant director in the New York Regional Office since 2010, has played a key role in a number of significant SEC enforcement actions.  For instance, Mr. Osnato helped spearhead the SEC’s case against JPMorgan Chase & Co. and two former traders for fraudulently overvaluing a complex trading portfolio in order to hide massive losses, and the subsequent action in which the bank admitted that it violated federal securities laws.

Mr. Osnato will now lead a Complex Financial Instruments Unit that is comprised of attorneys and industry experts working in SEC offices across the country to investigate potential misconduct related to asset-backed securities, derivatives, and other complex financial products.  The unit was created along with four other specialized enforcement units in 2010, and was formerly known as the Structured and New Products Unit.

“Michael is a natural leader who brings keen investigative instincts and exceptional judgment to his work,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “He has been a valuable part of our efforts to punish misconduct related to complex financial instruments, and we are pleased that he will bring his considerable talents and skills to the unit.”

Among other SEC enforcement actions under Mr. Osnato’s purview have been charges against four former investment bankers and traders at Credit Suisse Group in a scheme to overstate the prices of $3 billion in subprime bonds, and actions related to operators of the Reserve Primary Fund.

“I am honored and gratified to have this opportunity to lead the Complex Financial Instruments Unit,” said Mr. Osnato.  “The unit has targeted fraud in some of the most challenging areas of the markets, and I look forward to working with the many talented professionals in the unit to keep the Enforcement Division on the cutting edge of today’s financial markets.”

Prior to joining the SEC enforcement staff, Mr. Osnato worked at Shearman & Sterling LLP and later at Linklaters LLP in New York.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Williams College and his law degree from Fordham Law School.