Annette L. Nazareth
  1. Partner

Ms. Nazareth leads the trading and markets practice within the firm’s Financial Institutions Group. She advises clients across a broad range of complex regulatory matters and transactions. She also works closely with Davis Polk’s SEC enforcement practice, counseling nonfinancial sector corporations that are subject to government regulatory and enforcement actions.

Ms. Nazareth has been a key player in financial services regulatory reform for much of her career. She currently advises domestic and international clients on financial regulatory and legislative issues. Ms. Nazareth was a highly regarded financial services policymaker for more than a decade. She joined the SEC Staff in 1998 as a Senior Counsel to Chairman Arthur Levitt and then served as Interim Director of the Division of Investment Management. She served as Director of the Division of Market Regulation (now the Division of Trading and Markets) from 1999 to 2005. As Director, she oversaw the regulation of broker-dealers, exchanges, clearing agencies, transfer agents and securities information processors. In 2005, she was appointed an SEC Commissioner. During her tenure at the Commission, she worked on numerous groundbreaking initiatives, including execution quality disclosure rules, implementation of equities decimal pricing, short sale reforms and modernization of the national market system rules. Ms. Nazareth also served as the Commission’s representative on the Financial Stability Forum from 1999 to 2008.

Since leaving the SEC in January 2008, she has served as Rapporteur for the Group of Thirty’s report, The Structure of Financial Supervision: Approaches and Challenges in a Global Marketplace and as Project Director for their report, Enhancing Financial Stability and Resilience: Macroprudential Policy, Tools and Systems for the Future. Earlier in her career, she held a number of senior legal positions at several investment banks.


Ms. Nazareth is recognized as a leading lawyer in various industry publications:
  • Best Lawyers - "Lawyer of the Year," Financial Services Regulation Law: Washington DC, 2020
  • Chambers USA  Securities: Regulation: Advisory, Nationwide, Band 1
  • Chambers USA – Financial Services Regulation: Broker Dealer (Compliance), Nationwide, Band 1
  • Legal 500 USA  Financial Services: Regulatory, Leading Lawyer
  • IFLR1000 – Financial Services: Regulatory, Highly Regarded
  • BTI Client Service All-Star, 2013
  • Euromoney LMG Americas Women in Business Law Awards - Best in Financial Regulation, 2012

Ms. Nazareth received the SIFMA Compliance & Legal Society 2019 Alfred J. Rauschman Award, in recognition of her significant contributions to the compliance and legal communities and her dedication to the securities industry.

In 2011, Ms. Nazareth received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Traders magazine's inaugural "Wall Street Women of Excellence" awards. She was nominated by individuals in the trading community and was the only lawyer to receive an award.

Ms. Nazareth received the Women in Finance Lifetime Achievement Award from Markets Media in 2016. 

Of Note

  • Co-Chair, Workstream on Capital Markets, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative
  • Operating Lead, Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets
  • Member, American Law Institute
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Urban Institute, the National Cathedral School, the Bishop Walker School, and Trustee Emeritus of Brown University
  • Co-Author, "Transparency and Confidentiality in the Post Financial Crisis World - Where to Strike the Balance?," Harvard Business Law Review, Vol. 1, August 2011
  • Co-Author, Credible Living Wills: The First Generation, Davis Polk and McKinsey & Co., April 2011
  • Author of numerous articles and frequent speaker at conferences

Professional History

  • Partner, Davis Polk, 2008-present
  • Commissioner, Securities and Exchange Commission, 2005-2008
  • Director, Division of Market Regulation (now the Division of Trading and Markets), Securities and Exchange Commission, 1999-2005
  • Senior Counsel, Chairman Arthur Levitt; Interim Director, Division of Investment Management, Securities and Exchange Commission, 1998-1999
  • Associate, Davis Polk, 1981-1986

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • State of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit


  • A.B., History/Economics, Brown University, 1978
    • magna cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa
  • J.D., Columbia Law School, 1981
    • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar