K. Susan Grafton counsels a wide variety of broker-dealers, including U.S. and multinational broker-dealers, full service firms, institutional and retail broker-dealers, equity and fixed income alternative trading systems, investment banking boutiques, and private placement agents as well as securities exchanges.
She is ranked nationally by Chambers USA in the Broker-Dealer (Compliance) and Broker-Dealer (Enforcement) categories. Clients note her “problem-solving orientation. I find her to be very practical and she can work with us on getting to a positive resolution. She always has her client’s goals in mind.” (Chambers USA 2017).
Market observers call her “an excellent regulatory attorney” and note that “Susan’s work has always been very impressive.” (Chambers USA 2018). They also note that she is “very well connected in the industry, and is able to get the SEC and FINRA to be more responsive” (Chambers USA 2016).
Ms. Grafton’s practice includes representing broker-dealers in all aspects of regulatory compliance, beginning with assisting them in registering with the SEC – as alternative trading systems as well as broker-dealers – and obtaining membership in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other self-regulatory organizations (SROs).
As part of this process, she drafts all needed documents, such as written supervisory procedures, customer account documents, soft dollars and commission sharing agreements, and electronic access agreements. She also advises clients on new business initiatives and assists them in obtaining required SRO and state approvals.
Similarly, she handles the regulatory approvals in connection with changes of control of broker-dealers. Ms. Grafton also advises clients on broker-dealer status questions for themselves and their employees, including compliance with the Rule 15a-6 safe harbor for foreign broker-dealers and drafts agreements and procedures related to the same.
She also represents retail investment advisers, hedge fund and other private fund managers, research providers and trade associations representing the financial services industry. She has been involved in several key policy issues arising from the Dodd-Frank Act, including the uniform standard of care for broker-dealers and investment advisers, municipal advisor registration, private fund adviser registration, and compliance officer responsibilities under new CFTC rules.
Ms. Grafton has a unique combination of regulatory, in-house and law firm experience. She began her career with the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets (formerly Market Regulation) where she was responsible for interpretations and no-action relief with respect to the net capital and customer protection rules and broker-dealer books and records requirements.
She also led several significant rulemaking initiatives, including the proposal and adoption of Regulation M and amendments to Rules 10b-18, and provided regulatory exemptions and interpretations that facilitated numerous multinational securities offerings, merger transactions, and exchange offers.
Subsequently, Ms. Grafton served as a vice president and associate general counsel of Goldman Sachs where she advised on a variety of strategic, regulatory compliance and operational issues related to the firm’s institutional equities sales and trading businesses. Most recently, Ms. Grafton was a partner in the broker-dealer and securities enforcement practices of a large international law firm’s Washington, D.C., and New York offices.
- McDaniel College, B.A., 1980
- Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, J.D., 1985
- Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M., 1989
- District of Columbia
- New York
- American Bar Association, Federal Securities Law Committee of the Section of Business Law
- Former Chair, Trading and Markets Subcommittee
- Hedge Funds Subcommittee
- The Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni
- Board of Advisors, Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society
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