SEC Schedules Cohen’s Administrative Hearing for August 26

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s chief administrative law judge will hold a hearing next month into whether billionaire hedge-fund manager Steven A. Cohen should be barred from managing other people’s money.

Brenda P. Murray, who has been an administrative judge at the SEC’s Washington headquarters for 25 years, is scheduled to preside over the hearing on August 26 at 9:30 a.m., according to an order filed in the administrative court today.

The SEC accused Cohen on July 19 of failing to supervise two employees who face criminal charges that they illegally traded stocks based on confidential information. The regulator is seeking to bar Cohen, the founder of Stamford, Connecticut-based SAC Capital Advisors LP, from overseeing investor funds.

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for SAC, said last week that the SEC’s action has “no merit” and that Cohen will fight the claims.

Murray has been an administrative law judge since 1975, first with the Interstate Commerce Commission and then with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She has been at the SEC since 1988, according to the SEC news release announcing her appointment.

High-Profile Cases

During her tenure, Murray has presided over several high-profile matters and has found in favor of and against the SEC.

In 2011, she rejected the SEC’s claims that two employees of State Street Corp. (STT) misled investors as housing prices plummeted in 2007. State Street agreed to repay investors more than $300 million to resolve the case.

Murray also drew attention when she rejected a recommendation from then-inspector general H. David Kotz that certain SEC officials be disciplined for their handling of an insider-trading investigation involving Pequot Capital Management.

Former SEC investigator Gary Aguirre complained that he was fired after supervisors blocked his probe of Pequot and its ties to John Mack, the former chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley. (MS) Following Kotz’s report, the insider-trading investigation was rekindled, leading to a $28 million settlement with Pequot. Aguirre was awarded $755,000 to resolve his claims that he was a victim of whistleblower retaliation.

In her free time, Murray works to educate women in prison. In 2009, in an online video for an award sponsored by L’Oreal Paris, she said “people make mistakes, and people need a chance to redeem themselves.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Joshua Gallu in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maura Reynolds at

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