Susan Axelrod ’89
Executive Vice President, Member Regulation Sales Practice, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
A 23-year veteran as a regulator in the securities industry, Susan Axelrod ’89 is an expert in securities regulation and broker-dealer operations. As executive vice president of the member regulation sales practice area at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Axelrod serves as a key senior staff member for the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States.
Axelrod credits the work ethic she developed as a student at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, as well as the knowledge she gained in evidence and procedural law courses, with influencing the professional she is today. “I met great people and had good professors,” she remembers fondly.
Following her first year in law school, Axelrod was offered an unpaid position at the New York Stock Exchange in the enforcement division. After graduation, she was offered a position at the NYSE and has followed the career path of a securities industry regulator ever since.
Axelrod’s current position, which she has held for the past two years, includes the supervision and oversight of 15 district offices with staff responsible for examinations and surveillance of more than 4,500 broker-dealers in the United States. In this role, she helps FINRA achieve its primary goal of protecting investors by maintaining the fairness of the U.S. capital markets. Additionally, she finds time to teach classes, speak with students and make presentations about the important role of regulators in the securities industry.
Before being promoted to her current position, Axelrod served as the deputy of regulatory operations at FINRA, helping oversee the market regulation, enforcement and member regulation functions. Before joining FINRA, Axelrod was chief of staff to the chief executive officer of NYSE Regulation, Inc. for three years. In this position, her responsibilities included overseeing day-to-day operations and acting as a liaison with various business areas, including finance, human resources, government relations and communications.
In total, Axelrod spent 18 years at NYSE Regulation before it merged with the National Association of Securities Dealers to form FINRA in 2007. She joined the NYSE in 1989 as a staff attorney in the division of enforcement and became an enforcement director in 1997. Among the cases she handled were those involving specialist and floor broker misconduct, insider trading, upstairs trading, sales practice violations, and financial and operational compliance issues.
“Working at a regulatory agency is a great career. I could not be prouder of FINRA’s mission of investor protection and market integrity,” says Axelrod. “I recommend that law students interested in this field gain work experience at an agency such as FINRA or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in order to determine whether or not it’s the right path for them.”