A former SEC staff attorney, Richard F. Morris represents and counsels clients on a full range of legal, regulatory, and compliance issues applicable to exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, and investment advisers. Leveraging his experience navigating the SEC’s ETF exemptive application process, he has helped clients secure innovative exemptive orders that have since become fund industry standards.
Those matters include the first fixed-income ETF order in 2002, the first ETF 12(d)(1) order in 2003, the first self-indexing ETF order in 2006, and one of the first actively managed ETF orders in 2008. In 2013, Richard helped his clients obtain some of the first “modified” self-indexing ETF orders.
Richard also advises on the structure and launch of complex fund products, including actively managed ETFs; exchange-traded products (ETPs) registered under the Securities Act of 1933; commodity-based ETFs, including the first managed futures strategy and real return ETFs; funds utilizing controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) and other offshore subsidiaries (Cayman and Mauritius); and master-feeder structures. Richard regularly represents both index providers and ETF sponsors in negotiating index license agreements and index calculation agreements.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Richard served as general counsel of WisdomTree Asset Management, and was also a senior attorney for the iShares ETFs, two of the industry’s most innovative and successful ETF sponsors. In addition, he served as a staff attorney in the SEC’s Office of the General Counsel, where he focused on rulemaking and regulatory matters. Richard leverages these experiences to counsel clients on a range of SEC and FINRA matters, as well as to help clients solve complex operational and compliance issues.
Georgetown University Law Center, 1992, J.D.
Saint John's University, 1989, B.S. (Accounting)
Awards and Affiliations
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Investment Management Committe, New York City Bar Association
Instructor, Executive in Residence Honors Business Program, St. John's University (Fall 2012)