Merri Jo Gillette

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Merri Jo Gillette
Occupation Director Of The Midwest Regional Office
Employer SEC
Location Chicago

Merri Jo Gillette is director of the Chicago Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).[1] The commission announced on July 2, 2013 that she was leaving the agency that month after more than 25 years of service. [2] She will join the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP as a partner in its Chicago office.

She headed the SEC's Chicago office, which is the SEC's second largest regional office, starting in 2004, and oversaw a staff of more than 250, with responsibility for compliance inspections, investigations, and enforcement actions in a nine-state area.

Her examination staff in Chicago played a key role in changes designed to make the agency's National Exam Program (NEP) more effective and designed an electronic database for use in exams that later was put into use by SEC examiners nationwide. She also served as an inaugural member of the NEP's executive committee and co-chair of its compliance committee.

She also served as a founding member of the Division of Enforcement's diversity committee and chair of the agency-wide Diversity Committee on Mentoring and Professional Development.

Key enforcement actions brought during Gillette's tenure include:

  • SEC v. Badin Runruangnavarat, alleging that the defendant made more than $3 million of illegal profits by trading ahead of an announcement of a multi-billion acquisition of Smithfield Foods by Shuanghui International Holdings
  • SEC v. Nikolai S. Battoo, et al., charging an international asset manager for falsely representing the value of assets throughout financial crisis and concealing major losses
  • In the Matter of Claymore Advisors LLC, In the Matter of Mohammed Riad and In the Matter of Fiduciary Asset Management LLC, charging two investment advisors and two portfolio managers for failure to disclose the fund's risky derivatives strategies that contributed to its collapse during the financial crisis
  • In the Matter of Wells Fargo Brokerage Services, LLC, et al., charging the firm with failing to disclose risks inherent in complex mortgage-backed securities resulting in significant investor losses during the financial crisis
  • In the Matter of Huron Consulting Group, LLC, charging a consulting firm and two former executives with accounting violations that overstated income for multiple years
  • SEC v. Kwame M. Kilpatrick, et al, charging Detroit's former mayor, treasurer, and investment adviser to the city's pension funds in a pay-to-play scheme related to investment of city pension funds
  • SEC v. Clay Capital Management, LLC, et al., charging a hedge fund, its principal, and three others with conducting an insider trading ring that netted $3.9 million
  • SEC v. Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Inc., et al, and In the Matter of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, charging firms and a broker for fraud in the sale of $200 million of complex securities to the pension plans of five Wisconsin school districts
  • In the Matter of State of Illinois, charging the state with misleading municipal bond investors about funding of the state's pension obligations
  • In the Matter of Direct Edge Holdings LLC, et al., alleging violations at two electronic stock exchanges and a broker-dealer arising out of weak systems controls


Gillette joined the SEC as a staff attorney in the the Philadelphia Office in 1986. She worked on litigation and enforcement there for 18 years and then advanced to positions of increasing responsibility in the PDO including branch chief from 1989 to 1990, chief trial counsel from 1990 to 1994, assistant regional director from 1994 to 1998, district trial counsel from 1998 to 2003, supervisor of the trial unit, and associate director for enforcement.[3]

Before joining the SEC, she practiced law at the U.S. Department of Labor and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor.


Gillette received her BA degree from Northwestern University in 1979 and her JD from Dickinson School of Law in 1982.


  1. Press Release. SEC.
  2. Chicago Regional Office Director Merri Jo Gillette to Leave SEC. Press release via MondoVisione.
  3. SEC enforcer takes job as head of agency's Chicago office Merri Jo Gillette was known as tough official in Philadelphia. Chicago Sun-Times.