FINRA named a senior Treasury Department official to serve as the group's first chief economist.

The industry regulator announced Wednesday that Jonathan Sokobin will step in to lead the organization's economic analysis as it contemplates new potential rulemaking proceedings, and could make another push to assume regulatory oversight of broker-dealers.

Sokobin will come to FINRA after a two-year stint at Treasury, where he arrived in 2011 to serve as chief of analytical strategy in the department's Office of Financial Research. He currently the office's acting deputy director of research and analysis.

Sokobin had previously worked at the Securities Exchange Commission, starting in 2000 as a full-time staffer and eventually rising to deputy chief economist and then, from 2008 to 2010, heading what was known at the time as the Office of Risk Assessment.

Sokobin holds a PhD and MBA in finance from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University.

In a statement, FINRA Chairman and CEO Richard Ketchum praised Sokobin for his "stellar academic credentials" and "a distinguished history of performing sophisticated economic analysis" at the Treasury Department and SEC.

"His expertise will be invaluable in ensuring that FINRA's regulations are intelligently fashioned to protect investors and maintain market integrity without imposing needless costs and burdens on investors and the industry," Ketchum said.

FINRA explained that Sokobin will work closely with the organization's legal team in the development of cost-benefit analyses that would inform potential rulemakings.

The Financial Services Institute, an industry group that has been pressing for reforms at FINRA, praised Sokobin's hiring.

"This is very encouraging," FSI Vice President and General Counsel David Bellaire said in a statement. "This action will ensure quality economic impact analysis is performed before rules are proposed and that rules are periodically reviewed to ascertain their effectiveness. This should take us one step forward towards a healthier, more business-friendly regulatory environment for our members and their clients to thrive."

Sokobin is set to begin work at FINRA May 20, and will report directly to Ketchum.

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