James R. Burns

Partner

Washington
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
1875 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006-1238
T 202 303 1241
F 202 303 2241
jburnswillkie.com

James R. Burns is a partner in the firm’s Asset Management Group, focusing on counseling investment managers, broker-dealers, self-regulatory organizations, and other registered entities on regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters.  Prior to joining Willkie, Jim served as Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets. 

Jim has significant experience in both the trading and markets and investment management areas.  He provides clients with insights into current issues in SEC examination and enforcement contexts as well as strategic advice on the effects of SEC initiatives on the business operations and compliance programs of registrants overseen by the Division of Trading and Markets and the Division of Investment Management. He advises clients on cybersecurity and business continuity issues – ranging from broker-dealer and investment adviser regulatory obligations to expectations established by the SEC, FINRA and other federal and state authorities in connection with breaches and technology failures.

Jim brings well-respected knowledge and understanding of the equity, fixed income, and derivatives markets, having played an integral role in the development of current SEC positions and regulatory initiatives affecting those markets, their intermediaries and sell-side and buy-side participants. This includes trading, cybersecurity issues and the use of complex financial products.  He played a central role in the development and execution of significant rules under the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule and the SEC’s security-based swap regulatory regime.

Jim has wide-ranging SEC and private practice experience across broad areas of the asset management industry, covering investment managers and fiduciaries for registered investment companies, private funds and other types of clients.  He has extensive experience counseling advisers to registered and private funds, advising fund boards and addressing various governance, risk, compliance and disclosure-related matters of concern to the asset management industry. He counseled an adviser in connection with cyber breach of its platform. He also has represented investment advisers, broker-dealers, mutual funds, and hedge funds in various examination and enforcement-related inquiries by self-regulatory organizations and the SEC.

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Highlights

James R. Burns is a partner in the firm’s Asset Management Group, focusing on counseling investment managers, broker-dealers, self-regulatory organizations, and other registered entities on regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters.  Prior to joining Willkie, Jim served as Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets. 

Prior Experience

Jim served as the Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets from 2012 to 2014 and oversaw several core regulatory functions, including market supervision and operations, analytics and research, derivatives policy and trading practices, and the chief counsel and enforcement liaison offices. In addition to focusing on market supervisory issues, he participated in the Division’s implementation of key provisions of the Dodd-Frank and JOBS Acts, coordinated international regulatory efforts for the Division, and liaised closely with other operating divisions of the agency, principally the Division of Investment Management, Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, and Division of Enforcement.

Prior to joining the Division of Trading and Markets, Jim was a member of Chairman Mary Schapiro’s staff, including serving as the agency’s Deputy Chief of Staff, in which capacity he advised Chairman Schapiro on the development and execution of the agency’s broader rulemaking and policy agenda as well as other key agency initiatives.  He also served as counsel to Chairman Schapiro on issues involving the Division of Trading and Markets, including the agency’s analysis and response to the Flash Crash on May 6, 2010, and numerous other market structure and Dodd-Frank related rulemakings, studies and programs. Before joining Chairman Schapiro’s staff, Jim served as counsel to SEC Commissioner Kathleen Casey and previously worked for five years in private practice on investment management and broker dealer regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters.

While at the SEC, Jim led teams that won the Chairman’s Award for Excellence for drafting the Consolidated Audit Trail, and the Law and Policy Award for implementing the Volcker Rule. 

Jim previously served as a law clerk to Judge William B. Traxler on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Selected Publications and Lectures

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Willkie CLE: “Regulatory Risk for Private Funds: Growing Areas of Government Enforcement” New York (2016)
  • Discussion of Best Execution and the Role of TCA; Featured Perspectives
  • SEC Regulation Outside of the United States: “The markets and SEC and CFTC developments” London (2016)
  • Regulatory Compliance Association: “Division of Trading & Markets Speaks – Key Priorities & Initiatives for 2016” New York (2016)
  • IAWatch: “Governance and Risk Assessment: Evaluating Risks and Tailoring Controls” Washington, D.C. (2016)
  • SIFMA Equity Markets Conference: “Market Structure: Practical Solutions for Immediate Concerns” New York (2016)
  • “Risk to Capital - Client Solutions Training: A Preliminary Compliance Primer”
  • SIFMA Annual Conference: “The Regulatory Environment for Institutional Clients” Orlando (2016)
  • Mutual Fund Directors Forum: “Understanding Securities Markets - An Overview of Trading Venues” (Webinar) (2016)
  • The Knowledge Group: “The SEC and Cyber Security: What Broker Dealers and Investment Advisers Must Know in 2016” (Webcast) (2016)
  • Enforcement, Compliance & Operations (ECO): “Division of Trading & Markets Speaks – Key Priorities & Initiatives for 2016” New York (2016)
  • IAWatch's Cybersecurity for Financial Services Conference: “Governance and Risk Assessment: Evaluating Risks and Tailoring Controls” Washington, D.C. (2016)
  • SIFMA Annual Conference: “Thought Leader Session: Review of the Rulemaking Process and Ways to Improve It” Washington, D.C. (2015)
  • SIFMA Equity Markets Forum: “Market Structure: A Glimpse into 2016” New York (2015)
  • InvestoRegulation: “SEC Regulation Outside the United States: The Markets, and SEC and CFTC Developments” London (2015 and 2014)
  • Regulatory Compliance Association, Practice Edge Session: “SEC Initiates Flash Boy Regulation: A Comprehensive Analysis” (Webcast) (2014)
  • IDX FIA/FOA International Derivatives Expo: “Regulating a Global Marketplace”  London (2014)
  • PLI: “The Volcker Rule: What it Means for Financial Institutions” New York (2014)
  • SIFMA Market Structure Conference: “Market Regulation: Considering the Latest Developments” New York (2014)
  • SIFMA Operations Conference: “Implications of Regulatory Implementation - Understanding the Impact of Implementing New Rules and Regulations in 2014 and Beyond” Boca Raton (2014)
  • SEC Roundtable on Cybersecurity (Moderator) Washington, DC (2014)
  • Institute of International Bankers: “Regulatory Issues of Interest to International Banks” Washington, DC (2014)
  • Trader Forum Equity Trading Summit: “Market Structure Overview” New York (2014)
  • Regulation of Financial Services Forum 2014: “Derivatives Regulations” New York (2014)
  •  PLI Advanced Swaps and Other Derivatives: “Swaps, Security-Based Swaps and Mixed Swaps: CFTC, SEC and Dodd-Frank Implementation Progress” New York (2013)
  • ICI Capital Markets Conference: “Addressing Operational Risks in the Markets and Examining the Impact on Investor Confidence” New York (2013)
  • FIA Law & Compliance Division: Regulation of Futures, Derivatives and OTC Products: “An Update on Volcker, the Push-Out Rule and other Systemic Stability Banking Issues Under Dodd-Frank” Baltimore (2013)
  • SEC Fixed Income Roundtable (Moderator): “Potential Improvements to the Market Structure for Corporate Bonds and Asset-Backed Securities” Washington, DC (2013)
  • SEC Roundtable on Decimalization (Moderator) Washington, DC (2013)
  • FIF Year-End Event: “Keynote Address” New York (2012)
  • Institute of International Bankers: Annual Risk Management and Regulatory Examination/Compliance Seminar:  “Title VII and Volcker Update” New York (2012)
  • SIFMA Market Structure Conference: “Ensuring Market Integrity” New York (2012)
  • SEC: Roundtable on Technology and Trading (Moderator) Washington, DC (2012)

Selected Publications and Lectures

  • “Role of the Mutual Fund Director in the Oversight of the Risk Management Function,” Mutual Fund Directors Forum, (February 2017)
  • “Chapter 7: Compliance Challenges: Regulation SCI, Fintech, Information Technology and Cybersecurity,” Financial Services Industry Regulatory Compliance & Ethics Forum 2016 Course Handbook, (November 2016)
  • “SEC Proposes Rule Requiring Investment Advisers to Adopt Business Continuity and Transition Plans,” The Investment Lawyer, (October 2016)
  • ”Chapter 21A: Regulation SCI and Trends in IT and Cybersecurity Regulation, Compliance, and Enforcement,” Broker-Dealer Regulation (2nd Edition), (September 2016)
  • “Chapter 21: Trading Desk Activities,” Broker-Dealer Regulation (2nd Edition), (September 2016)
  • “SEC Enforcement Director Reviews Focus on Private Equity,” The Investment Lawyer, (August 2016)
  • The Wall Street Journal (May 2016) – Jim is quoted discussing the SEC's plan for the Consolidated Audit Trail in "Michael's Take: Big-Data Expectations for the SEC: Once the CAT database is a reality, public expectations of the SEC will only rise."
  • Law360 (January 2016) – Jim is quoted commenting on rules regarding Treasury securities trades in "Capital Rules to Get Little Scrutiny in Treasury Bond Inquiry."
  • Law360 (July 2015) – Jim is quoted discussing a joint federal report on the Oct. 14, 2014 treasury market volatility, the so-called “flash crash.”

Publications / News / Events

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