LARA THYAGARAJAN is a partner in Sidley’s New York office, and a member of the global Securities Enforcement and Regulatory practice. Lara joined Sidley after more than 15 years as a leader in the Enforcement Department at FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). Lara held a variety of positions on Enforcement’s senior leadership team, most recently as Senior Vice President, Head of Market Regulation Enforcement and Head of Enforcement Litigation. As a former senior officer, Lara has unique insight into the current priorities, policies, and practices of financial services regulators including FINRA, the Securities Exchange Commission, the exchanges, and state securities regulators. Lara’s experience overseeing hundreds of regulatory inquiries and disciplinary proceedings allows her to advise clients on all types of internal investigations and enforcement matters. Lara’s practice focuses on representing financial institutions, broker-dealers, investment advisors, and financial services professionals in complex trading and sales practice investigations and enforcement actions.
As a senior leader at FINRA, Lara worked closely with teams across Member Supervision, Market Regulation, and National Cause and Financial Crimes and led some of the organization’s most complex investigations and disciplinary actions. In her role as Head of Market Regulation Enforcement, Lara oversaw some of the largest trading matters that FINRA has pursued, including overseeing complex best execution and order routing matters as well as systemic supervisory failures at broker-dealers. Lara also was responsible for overseeing FINRA Enforcement’s investigations and disciplinary actions conducted on behalf of the options and stock exchanges across the United States including the NYSE, Nasdaq, CBOE, BATS, IEX, BOX, and MIAX. Lara previously functioned as the Counsel to the Head of Enforcement and stood up Enforcement’s policy group focused on developing consistency and transparency in charging decisions. In that role, Lara was instrumental in developing and implementing FINRA’s updated credit for cooperation guidance. In 2017 and 2018, Lara also coordinated the restructuring of FINRA Enforcement and was a thought leader in developing new policies currently in place in the department. Prior to joining the senior leadership team at FINRA Enforcement, Lara was the Chief Counsel for the New York Region with responsibility for managing a team dedicated to investigating and prosecuting disciplinary matters involving broker-dealers based in New York City and Long Island. Earlier in her career at FINRA, Lara was a director in FINRA Enforcement’s home office.
Prior to joining FINRA, Lara spent eight years at a Boston law firm where she was a partner representing broker-dealers, investment advisors, and financial services professionals in investigations, enforcement actions, and disciplinary hearings initiated by the SEC, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, state securities regulators, and self-regulatory organizations.