The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is embracing a two-headed management structure for its all-important enforcement division.

The SEC on Thursday named current acting director of enforcement, Stephanie Avakian, and former federal prosecutor, Steven Peikin, to be co-directors of the SEC's largest division.

Together, they will oversee more than 1,200 investigators, accountants, attorneys, and other professionals.

Avakian is based in the SEC's Washington, D.C. headquarters. Peikin will split his time between the agency's headquarters and its New York office.

Avakian was named acting director of enforcement in December 2016. Prior to that, she was deputy director of enforcement, and worked in private practice as a partner with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

Peikin is joining the SEC from Sullivan & Cromwell, where he was managing partner of the firm's criminal defense and investigations group. He is also adjunct professor of law at New York University's law school. From 1996 to 2004, he was a prosecutor, working as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he headed its Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.

"There is no place for bad actors in our capital markets, particularly those that prey on investors and undermine confidence in our economy. Stephanie and Steve will aggressively police our capital markets and enforce our nation's securities laws as co-directors of the division of enforcement," says Jay Clayton, SEC chairman, in a statement.

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