Bates Group Welcomes Four New Experts: Recent SEC, FINRA and State Insurance Regulators, Expanding its Regulatory and Insurance Expertise

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Recent senior securities and insurance regulators join Bates Group, the nation’s preeminent financial services consulting firm, providing end-to-end solutions on litigation, regulatory and compliance matters for financial services firms and their counsel.

Peggy Willenbucher, Gary Liebowitz, Mary Jo Hudson, Ray Conover
Peggy, Gary, Mary Jo and Ray each bring distinctive insight and knowledge to our financial services, insurance and law firm clients seeking to navigate the regulatory landscape.

Demonstrating its commitment to serving its law firm and financial services clients’ needs, Bates Group LLC (“Bates”) is pleased to welcome four distinguished recent regulators to its team of regulatory and industry experts.

Marguerite (Peggy) Willenbucher (New York) is an accomplished financial services attorney with extensive retail broker-dealer, investment advisory, capital markets and trading experience at both the SEC and Merrill Lynch. Peggy joins Bates after more than five years with the Securities and Exchange Commission, first as a Senior Specialized Examiner and most recently as a Senior Special Counsel to the Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). Her responsibilities with OCIE included retail sales practice examinations concerning such matters as sales of complex products and structured notes; retail compliance; surveillance; and supervision programs. She also provided advice on and engaged in examinations concerning equity trading and market making.

Prior to her tenure at the SEC, Peggy held senior positions for over two decades at Merrill Lynch, including serving as a Managing Director and Assistant General Counsel within its Office of General Counsel, where she provided legal advice on the creation and sale of financial instruments and acted as counsel to the retail, institutional sales, global equities, and derivatives sales and trading businesses. Peggy has substantial experience in setting up initial compliance programs and practices, new product and business governance programs, as well as direct experience working with securities regulators. At Bates, Peggy will serve as a Consultant and Testifying Expert for Bates’ Securities Litigation, Regulatory and Internal Investigations, and Compliance Solutions Practice Groups.

Gary Liebowitz (New Jersey) joins Bates after a 30-year career as a senior FINRA leader and SEC and FINRA enforcement attorney. Gary will serve as a Consultant and Testifying Expert for Bates’ Securities Litigation, Regulatory and Internal Investigations, and Compliance Solutions Practice Groups.

Most recently, Gary was a Senior Vice President and Regional Director of FINRA’s North Region, leading the Boston, New Jersey and Philadelphia Offices. This Region was responsible for the regulatory oversight of almost 1000 broker-dealers and included over 150 staff members. In this position, Gary oversaw the Region’s regulatory programs, including examinations, financial surveillance and special investigations, and was a member of FINRA's senior management team providing direction on FINRA's national regulatory programs and policies. Gary was a frequent industry speaker and also worked closely and cooperatively with firms in their efforts to help protect investors. Throughout his career, Gary was actively involved with enforcement colleagues to investigate and develop cases involving complex issues and products. Gary began his legal career as an enforcement lawyer with the SEC working in Boston and New York. During his early years at the NASD, Gary served as the New York Office's Chief Counsel, managing a team of lawyers responsible for conducting investigations involving potential violations of the federal securities laws and NASD Rules and Regulations.

Mary Jo Hudson (Ohio) joins Bates Group as a Testifying Expert and Consultant for Bates’ Insurance, Regulatory and Internal Investigations, and Securities Litigation Practice Groups. Mary Jo served as Ohio’s Insurance Commissioner from 2007 until 2011. During her service in Ohio, she also served as a member of the NAIC Executive Committee and as an officer of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission. Mary Jo brings nearly 30 years of experience as a regulator, as an outside representative for insurance companies and as a former board and audit committee member for a property casualty insurance company operating in the United States and internationally, with an emphasis on matters relating to life insurance and annuities, product distribution, claims, market conduct, financial regulation, risk and corporate governance, agent licensing and conduct, insurance company receiverships and insolvencies, and public policy analysis associated with insurance regulation. To date, she has been engaged as a consulting and testifying expert in 16 cases. She is a frequent speaker at insurance conferences and has been recognized by the insurance industry, receiving the Independent Insurance Agents of Ohio, Independence Bell Award and PIA-Ohio’s Industry Person of the Year Award.

Ray Conover (New Jersey) joins Bates as a Testifying Expert and Consultant specializing in issues related to insurance company regulation, with an emphasis on insurance regulatory matters relating to finance, market conduct and compliance matters. A 32-year veteran of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, Ray served as Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Solvency Regulation (2004-2012), and before that, Chief Insurance Examiner for the Office of Solvency Regulation (1999-2012). In these roles he was responsible for the financial solvency and compliance monitoring of all authorized insurance entities as well as insurer licensing, mergers and acquisitions and insolvency matters. As a consultant, he assists insurers, law firms and regulators with a variety of financial, market conduct exam and compliance matters. Ray has assisted clients with corporate governance development and examination preparation; mock market conduct and underwriting compliance examinations; market conduct and claims examinations and reviews; preparation and review of Form A – Acquisition filings; admission and expansion application filings; insurer, captive and Organized Delivery System (“ODS”) formations and filings; reactivation of insurers’ certificates of authority; and financial condition review and assistance with other regulatory matters.

“The expertise, leadership and contributions of Peggy, Gary, Mary Jo and Ray have shaped securities enforcement and insurance regulation,” said Jennifer Stout, Bates President & CEO. “They each bring distinctive insight and knowledge to our financial services, insurance and law firm clients seeking to navigate the regulatory landscape, and their experience positions us to provide deeper service offerings to our clients. We are thrilled and honored to welcome them to the Bates team.”

About Bates Group LLC:
Voted a 2015 Best Securities Litigation Consulting Firm by readers of the New York Law Journal, Bates Group is the nation’s preeminent financial services consulting firms, providing end-to-end solutions on legal and compliance matters for financial services firms and their counsel. With a roster of nearly 100 financial industry and regulatory experts, Bates offers services in litigation consultation and testimony, regulatory and internal investigation matters, compliance solutions, forensic accounting, and damages consulting. Bates also provides RegTelligence®, the first comprehensive database of regulatory enforcement actions. With three decades of working with leading law firms, financial services companies and regulatory bodies, Bates Group supports you every step of the way.

For more information:
Bates Group LLC
Telephone: 503-670-7772

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John Rice
Bates Group LLC
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