Walter Jospin
Walter Jospin (Alison Church)

Atlanta attorney Walter Jospin, the regional director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Atlanta, is stepping down, the SEC announced Tuesday.

Jospin, who was hired as the SEC’s southeast regional director in February 2015, said he will remain at his post until his successor is selected. He said he anticipates his departure will likely take place by the end of this year.

“I have not decided what I want to do next,” said Jospin, who was a partner at Paul Hastings in Atlanta when he took the helm at the SEC.

“Serving as director of the Atlanta Regional Office has been an extraordinary opportunity, second only to working as an SEC enforcement lawyer early in my career,” he said. Jospin worked in the SEC’s enforcement division in Atlanta from 1980-1983.

“Both experiences have given me the chance to work with smart, talented people committed to the Commission’s mission,” he said. “The SEC is an outstanding agency, and I will miss my wonderful colleagues. It has indeed been an honor to lead the Atlanta office.”

“Walter has been an insightful and innovative leader of the Atlanta office, and the office and the enforcement division have benefited from his experience and sound judgment,” said Stephanie Avakian, the enforcement division’s co-director. “He has led the Atlanta office to great success, and he will be sorely missed.”

Pete Driscoll, acting director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, said Jospin’s work “to implement positive changes in Atlanta and across the national examination program will have lasting impact.”

Under Jospin’s guidance, the SEC said its Atlanta regional office filed civil suits against a string of investment advisers and retail investors who ran afoul of federal securities regulations, engaged in fraud or insider trading.

Some of the SEC’s most prominent cases during Jospin’s tenure included:

A case against SunTrust Bank regarding its collection of more than $1.1 million in fees from clients by improperly recommending more expensive mutual fund share classes when cheaper shares of the same funds were available.

Securing an agreement from global accounting firm KPMG and a business partner to pay more than $6.2 million for failure to properly audit the financial statements of an oil-and-gas company charged with accounting fraud.

A case against a Tennessee attorney and board member of Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners regarding allegations of insider trading.

A civil fraud case against 11 former executives and board members of failed Alabama-based Superior Bank centering on a scheme to conceal the extent of the bank’s loan losses.

A case enjoining the owner of a string of north Georgia investment companies from selling securities based on subprime auto loans and viaticals, and freezing his assets over claims he duped investors out of an estimated $30 million in what the SEC called a massive Ponzi scheme.