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U.S. SEC names Luparello as trading and markets director

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday that attorney and former regulator Stephen Luparello will run the agency's division that oversees markets and brokerages.

Luparello's appointment as director of the Trading and Markets Division was widely expected.

His name has been discussed in gossip circles for months now, and earlier this month Reuters and other news outlets reported that SEC Chair Mary Jo White had settled on him for the job after a lengthy search.

Luparello is currently a partner at the law firm WilmerHale. Previously, he spent 16 years at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), where his responsibilities included market regulation and enforcement.

He has also worked for the SEC in the past, as well as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

He joins the SEC as the trading and markets division is still trying to complete work on rules required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law on over-the-counter derivatives.

The division additionally is exploring potential market structure reforms.

That initiative has increasingly grown in importance in the wake of several high-profile technology failures in recent years such as the near-collapse of Knight Capital, now a part of KCG Holdings, in 2012, after the brokerage suffered from a $461 million trading error.

The SEC also said Thursday that its acting director for the division, John Ramsay, plans to depart the agency next month.

Ramsay has played a critical role in overseeing making numerous rules within the division, including the Volcker rule to ban proprietary trading by banks.

He was also deeply involved in the division's response to high-profile market events, including the U.S. debt downgrade, the collapse of MF Global, the software glitch at Knight Capital, and an outage last summer at Nasdaq OMX's securities information processor.