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Opportunities for Economists with the SEC
How to Apply
Candidates interested in a Financial Economist position must apply under an open vacancy announcement. All vacancies are listed on this website. Interested candidates should carefully read the qualification requirements and application procedures that are outlined in each announcement. Applications must be submitted during the open announcement period.
Most of the economists employed by the SEC work in the Office of Economic Analysis (OEA), which is headed by the Commission's Chief Economist. OEA provides the analytical and technical support necessary to help the Commission understand and evaluate the economic effects of its regulatory policy, including the likely costs and benefits of rule proposals. OEA economists also apply financial economics and statistical techniques to the Commission's enforcement and inspection programs. OEA economists perform research primarily in the areas of corporate finance, market microstructure, or mutual funds. The work of OEA is performed by Financial Economists, Economic Fellows, and Visiting Academic Scholars, all of whom have the opportunity to publish research results in academic or professional journals.
Description of Positions
Financial Economists are responsible for designing and conducting studies and analyses of the economic impact of existing and proposed rules promulgated by the SEC and self-regulatory agencies. They also design economic studies in anticipation of and in response to developments in the securities markets, developments in prevailing financial practices among issuer firms, and developments in SEC policies. Duties include reviewing relevant literature, designing studies, collecting data, computer programming, extensive statistical analysis, writing sophisticated memos detailing studies and interpreting the results, orally briefing other SEC staff on the relevance of the results, and critically interpreting academic research or economic arguments. Ideal candidates have a Ph.D. in finance, accounting, or economics or extensive experience conducting all aspects of empirical financial research. Researchers with experience conducting high-quality research in topics of interest to the SEC are preferred. Employment as a Financial Economist is only open to US citizens.
Economic Fellows perform the same duties as the Financial Economists. Preferred Candidates have a Ph.D. in finance, accounting or economics or be nearing completion of the Ph.D. Economic Fellows must show a strong potential for high-quality research and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the existing body of empirical and theoretical financial literature. Economic Fellows are appointed for a one-year term that is renewable up to a maximum of four years. Fellows receive the same benefits as Financial Economists may apply for Financial Economist positions upon completion of at least one year under the program. Positions as Economic Fellows are open to U.S. citizens and to others who meet the immigration law requirements and conditions of the appropriations act ban.
Visiting Academic Scholars perform the same duties as the Financial Economists. Candidates must have a Ph.D. in finance, accounting or economics and have a permanent position at a U.S. college or university. Additionally, preferred candidates have at least three years post-graduate experience in financial economics and experience conducting high-quality research in topics of interest to the SEC. These positions are single-year appointments, renewable once. Visiting Scholars are compensated pursuant to an IPA contract, whereby professors are detailed to the government but remain employed by their universities, which are reimbursed for the academic salary and benefits. Positions for Visiting Scholars are open to U.S. citizens and to others who meet the immigration law requirements and conditions of the appropriations act ban
Other Opportunities. The Office of Economic Analysis also hires staff who provide assistance to Financial Economists. Their duties typically include computer programming, data collection, and limited statistical analysis. Ideal candidates have a degree (or are in the process of getting a degree) in finance, economics, or statistics.
Salary is commensurate with experience. In 2006, salaries range from $116,462 to $170,396 for Financial Economists and Economic Fellows. Visiting Academic Scholars are paid their twelve-month salary up to a maximum of $170,396.