James R. Burns is a partner in the Asset Management Group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, focusing on counseling investment managers, broker-dealers, self-regulatory organizations, and other registered entities on regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters. Prior to joining Willkie, Mr. Burns served as Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets.
Mr. Burns 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.
Mr. Burns is currently lead attorney for a large equity derivatives clearing organization. He 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.
Mr. Burns 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.