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Morgan Lewis adds former SEC hedge fund expert to securities practice

Ivan Harris, 37, the former assistant regional director of enforcement for the US Securities and Exchange Commission's south-east region, has joined the national securities practice of law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius as a partner, becoming a member of the firm's litigation practice group based in Miami.

Harris joins nearly 30 former SEC attorneys at Morgan Lewis across the US, and is the second senior enforcement attorney from the SEC's south-east regional office to join the firm. Christian Bartholomew, who was the office's senior trial counsel, joined the firm in 2000.

Morgan Lewis says he brings to the national securities practice cutting-edge experience from both the enforcement and regulatory side of hedge funds. Harris joins Morgan Lewis from the position of regulatory counsel to a financial services firm that acts as a hedge fund investment adviser. Before moving into the industry two years ago, he spearheaded several of the SEC's most significant hedge fund investigations.

'Hedge funds are one of the most rapidly growing and lightly regulated investment vehicles,' says James D. Pagliaro, leader of the global litigation practice at Morgan Lewis. 'As the SEC continues to scrutinise their activities, Ivan has a unique profile as someone who has been on the inside of a hedge fund, and before that, lead investigator of a cutting-edge hedge fund enforcement action by the SEC.'

In 2005, Harris led the investigation of one of the largest hedge fund fraud actions ever brought by the SEC, against Palm Beach-based KL Financial Group, which raised almost USD200m before its assets were frozen and it was put in receivership in an emergency SEC action.

In 2003, Harris was also responsible for the first SEC case involving a hedge fund's illegal short-selling ahead of a secondary stock offering. The SEC has recently made such violations, and related so-called PIPE cases, an enforcement priority.

Harris also led several precedent-setting enforcement matters at the SEC involving corporate financial fraud, insider trading, broker-dealer and investment adviser cases. He also developed expertise in international cases by investigating financial fraud and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters in concert with regulators throughout Europe and Central and South America.

'We are thrilled that Ivan is joining our SEC enforcement and regulatory compliance team,' says Christian Bartholomew, a partner and leader of Morgan Lewis's Washington, DC litigation group as well as of its SEC enforcement practice in the south-east region.

'Ivan is a hedge fund lawyer with both in-house and SEC experience; a former senior SEC enforcement official known for bringing cases of national and international importance; and a partner on the ground in Miami who will help seal our dominant position as the go-to firm in the south-east for SEC matters.'

Harris will also work closely with the firm's investment management practice group in leveraging his hedge fund experience.

Morgan Lewis is a global law firm with more than 1,300 lawyers in 22 offices located in Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfurt, Harrisburg, Houston, Irvine, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Palo Alto, Paris, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Princeton, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Washington DC.

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