For over 10 years Helane Morrison was the leader of the Securities and Exchange Commission‘s San Francisco district office. During her time there she developed a reputation as someone that will hold the feet of businesses to the fire and ensure they are following all applicable laws. She was also a staunch fighter for the rights of the consumer, especially the elderly. Morrison was hired in 1996 as director of training and enforcement for the San Francisco District office. Her work was so good she was promoted to district administrator three years later. She was the first woman to hold the position.
After earning her degree in journalism from Northwestern University she went on to get her Juris Doctor from UC Berkley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. She was then a law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard A. Posner. She then spent 10 years as a practicing attorney with Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, a San Francisco based law firm. Her exemplary performance led to her being made a partner after 5 years with the firm. By the time she left the firm to join the Securities And Exchange Commission she was a seasoned, experienced attorney.
At the SEC Morrison had an aggressive agenda. She brought cases against a number of well-known companies. She continued to work on that same aggressive agenda when she became district administrator. She continued to manage both the examination and enforcement programs and had a significant impact. The area under her jurisdiction included Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The SEC had a strong presence throughout the region during the time Helane Morrison was at the helm. She replaced David Bayless in the position
During her years there she supervised many major investigations. Three of them ended with the SEC taking enforcement action against auditors for California Micro Devices, Dean Witter and Republic Securities of New York. While Morrison ran the SEC’s San Francisco office, the staff and the workload grew exponentially. The office also focused on online brokerage services and even provided vital information on the SEC website to inform investors of the dangers of using the online brokerage services.