Irving M. Pollack, a former SEC Commissioner who also served as the agency's first director of the Enforcement Division, passed away on July 1, 2016 at the age of 98. Pollack served at the SEC for 34 years. In a statement, SEC Chair Mary Jo White called Pollack a man of "incredible integrity" and noted that in his honor the SEC has since 1981 presented the annual "Irving M. Pollack award to an enforcement staff member who demonstrates fairness and compassion as well as a dedication to public service and the SEC."
Pollack joined the SEC in 1946 after serving as a captain in the Air Force from 1943 to 1946. At the SEC, he rose from staff attorney to SEC Commissioner after he was appointment to that position in 1974 by President Richard Nixon. Along the way, Pollack served as the SEC’s first Director of Enforcement, and was the only individual to ever serve as Director of the Divisions of Enforcement and Market Regulation, as well as a Commissioner.
In 1981, following Pollack's retirement from the SEC in 1980, the agency created the prestigious Irving M. Pollack award that is presented annually to a recipient who has
demonstrated over a period of years such qualities as dedication to service in the public interest; dedication to the SEC; fairness and compassion in the performance of his/her official duties and in his/her relationship with the public and staff; scholarship and professional expertise as well as adherence to stringent standards of personal and professional integrity.
Following his retirement from the SEC, Pollack was in private law practice for more than 30 years. As the court-appointed Claims Administrator in the Prudential Securities limited partnership case, Mr. Pollack supervised the distribution of $1 billion to investors — one of the largest and most complex settlements in SEC history.
In 1992, Pollack was the first-ever recipient of the Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni's William O. Douglas Award, which honors an "SEC alumnus who has contributed to the development of the federal securities laws or served the financial and SEC community with distinction."
In 2014, my publication, Securities Docket, named Pollack (below, center) to its inaugural Enforcement Hall of Fame honoring "lawyers who have made the most extraordinary contributions to, and impact upon, the field of securities enforcement over their lifetimes."
Last year, at age 97, Pollack (below, center) served on the Directors Panel at Securities Enforcement Forum 2015 along with six other current or former Enforcement Directors.