ProfessionalsWalter G. Ricciardi
Walter Ricciardi has extensive experience defending a broad variety of investigations conducted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and other regulatory authorities. Additionally, he has conducted several internal investigations for public companies and audit committees, including investigations related to allegations of accounting and financial fraud.
Prior to joining Paul, Weiss in June 2008, Walter was the Deputy Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, where he supervised many of the Commission's most significant investigations related to financial fraud, insider trading, investment advisers and broker-dealers.
Walter has served as lead counsel on the following regulatory defense matters:
- Representation of several major accounting firms in connection with investigations by the SEC and PCAOB related to independence, audit and financial statement issues.
- Representation of a global financial institution and its investment management company in connection with investigations by the SEC and Massachusetts Securities Division into the pricing by a mutual fund of mortgage-backed securities.
- Representation of a global financial institution in connection with investigations by the SEC, the New York Attorney General's Office, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into collateralized debt obligation marketing practices.
- Representation of a global financial institution in connection with an investigation by the SEC in connection with auctions to liquidate collateralized debt obligation.
- Representation of a business development company in connection with an investigation by the SEC of valuation issues.
- Representation of an electronic trading firm and market maker in connection with an investigation by the SEC and NYAG of trading practices.
- Representation of a hedge fund adviser in connection with an investigation by the SEC of “pay to play” issues.
- Representation of several private equity and hedge fund advisers in connection with SEC investigations and examinations by the SEC's Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations.
- Representation of several companies in various industries in connection with internal and SEC investigations into potential improper payments under the FCPA.
- Representation of several companies in various industries in connection with whistleblower allegations of financial fraud.
- Representation of a former executive of a mining company in an action brought by the SEC in the Southern District of New York alleging misstatements, omissions and accounting violations relating to the value of a project in Africa.
- Representation of a managing director of a private equity firm in connection with an SEC investigation related to compliance issues.
- Representation of a general counsel of a regulated entity in connection with a regulatory inquiry.
- Representation of a senior executive of a public government-sponsored enterprise in an investigation by the SEC related to sub-prime disclosures.
- Representation of a senior executive of a global financial institution in an investigation by the SEC related to valuation of CDO investments.
- Representation of a senior executive of an entertainment company in connection with an SEC investigation related to trading activities.
- Representation of a Middle East investor in connection with an SEC investigation related to alleged stock manipulation.
Prior to joining Paul, Weiss and starting in June 2008, Walter was appointed to run the SEC's Boston office, which was responsible for enforcement and examination programs for the New England region. He was appointed as Deputy Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement in October 2005, and his duties included managing the enforcement efforts of the Commission's eleven regional offices. Upon his departure from the SEC, the Commission's chairman stated that “Walter Ricciardi, as much as anyone in the Commission's modern history, has professionalized the management of the SEC's enforcement program.” The Wall Street Journal reported that his departure from the SEC was a “blow to the enforcement program - he has won the affections of the staff and has boosted morale.”
Prior to joining the SEC, Walter spent 20 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers and its predecessor, Coopers & Lybrand, where he was in charge of defending the firm's litigation and regulatory matters. While at PwC, he was elected by his partners to serve on the firm's board, which is responsible for overseeing the management of the firm. He was also elected by the partners to serve on the Global Oversight Board of the PwC global organization.
Since joining Paul, Weiss, Walter was appointed and served a three-year term from 2012 to 2014, on the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's Standing Advisory Group (“SAG”). The role of the SAG is to assist the Board in reviewing existing auditing and related professional practice standards and evaluating proposed standards, and to recommend to the Board new or amended standards. Walter was a member of the Independent Standards Council of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) which oversees the development of SASB's sustainability accounting standards from January 2015 to March 2016.
Walter lectures and writes extensively on securities litigation and regulatory issues. As an Adjunct Professor at New York University School of Law, he teaches a seminar on issues in SEC enforcement.
Walter is recognized as a leading individual for Securities Regulation: Enforcement in Chambers USA (2013-2023), where clients report he is “terrific and well placed to deal with challenging matters” and “brings a wealth of experience.” He also is recognized for Financial Services: Litigation by The Legal 500 US (2017), recognized by his peers in U.S. News & World Report/“Best Lawyers”(2011-2019) for Corporate Governance Law, Litigation - Securities and Securities Regulation and was selected to Securities Docket's 2013 “Enforcement 40” list, a list of the best and brightest securities enforcement defense lawyers. He served as a note and comment editor of the New York University Law Review.