The SEC announced on Friday that Vincente L. Martinez, Chief of the SEC’s Office of Market Intelligence, is leaving the agency next month. Martinez has led OMI since 2013, when he returned to the SEC to succeed Thomas A. Sporkin as Chief of OMI. The SEC stated that Victor J. Valdez will serve as Acting Chief of OMI following Martinez’s departure.
Established in 2010, OMI has become a critical part of the SEC's Enforcement Division. OMI is responsible for overseeing the SEC’s collection, evaluation, and dissemination of the flood of tips, complaints and referrals (TCR) that come into the agency. OMI was created in the aftermath of the Bernard Madoff scandal, following a report by the SEC's Inspector General that found that the enforcement staff lacked adequate guidance on how to analyze complaints appropriately. Roughly one-third of the IG’s 21 recommendations in that report pertained directly to improvements needed in the TCR handling system.
Martinez joined the SEC’s Enforcement Division in 2003, and was subsequently named as one of the first Assistant Directors in OMI in 2010. From 2011-2013, Martinez served as the first Director of the Whistleblower Office at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, until he returned to the SEC in 2013 to serve as Chief of OMI. “Vince’s dedication, expertise, and skill has enhanced the Office of Market Intelligence’s efforts and built important bridges to other regulators,” SEC Enforcement Director Andrew J. Ceresney stated.
Under Martinez's leadership, OMI also played a key role in initiatives such as developing technology to identify dormant companies vulnerable to abuse in the OTC market. Since 2012, the SEC's "Operation Shell-Expel" initiative has resulted in trading suspensions of more than 800 microcap stocks. In addition, OMI has worked with the SEC's Broker-Dealer Task Force to identify firms that have filed few or no suspicious activity reports (SARs) over extended periods. The SEC stated that this initiative led to dozens of examinations and investigations focused on potential Bank Secrecy Act violations, as well as the SEC’s case last month against Albert Fried & Company--its first enforcement action against a firm solely for failing to file SARs when appropriate.