Ranked, National Tier 1: Securities/Capital Markets Law, U.S. News and Best Lawyers (2013)
Ranked, Band 2: Investment Fund Formation and Management: Mutual/Registered Funds in The U.S. Legal 500 (2013)
Ranked, Band 2: Financial Services Regulation: Broker-Dealer Regulation in Chambers USA (2013)
Ranked, Band 3: Investment Funds: Registered Funds in Chambers USA (2013)
honors + 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)
- New York
Richard F. Morris is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Investment Management and Securities Industry Practice. Mr. Morris's practice focuses on representing exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, and investment advisers.
Mr. Morris counsels clients on the full range of legal, regulatory, and compliance issues applicable to ETFs, investment companies, and registered investment advisers. He has experience navigating the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC's) ETF exemptive application process and has helped his clients obtain innovative exemptive orders that have since become industry standard. These 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, Mr. Morris obtained for his clients some of the first "modified" self-indexing ETF orders.
In addition, Mr. Morris advises clients on the structure and launch of complex fund products. These have included actively managed ETFs; 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); Securities Act of 1933 exchange-traded products (ETPs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs); and master-feeder structures. Mr. Morris has served as the chief compliance officer of a registered investment company and investment adviser and utilizes this experience to advise clients on a range of SEC and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) matters. He also has experience representing index providers and negotiating index license and calculation agreements.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Mr. Morris most recently served as general counsel of WisdomTree Asset Management, one of the industry's most innovative and successful ETF sponsors. In addition, he has worked as a staff attorney at the SEC in the Office of the General Counsel, where he focused on rulemaking and regulatory matters.Mr. Morris is admitted to practice in New York.
- Georgetown University Law Center, 1992, J.D.
- St. John’s University, 1989, B.S. (Accounting)