Ethiopis Tafara is IFC’s Vice President and General Counsel for Legal, Compliance Risk & Sustainability. He is responsible for IFC’s non-financial risk, including the legal and compliance functions and its environmental, social, and governance operations.
Mr. Tafara has practiced as a regulatory lawyer for close to 20 years, focusing on international securities regulation and cross-border law enforcement and litigation. He is a recognized thought leader on regulatory and governance standards underpinning securities markets. He has advised developing countries on reforms needed to grow capital markets, and has led in the formulation of standards for regulators, oversight bodies, and market participants around the world.
He joined IFC in April 2013 from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where he served as the Director of the Office of International Affairs. During his tenure, he advised the Commission on the international implications regarding the implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley, and Dodd-Frank Acts, and significantly expanded the SEC’s capacity-building programs for regulators and oversight bodies across emerging markets. Mr. Tafara has also been recognized for his leadership in facilitating cross-border investor access by promoting mutual recognition of comparable regulations across markets. The adoption of this approach has promoted adherence to higher-quality standards across securities markets. For his contributions, Mr. Tafara was awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Award for Excellence in 2008.
Mr. Tafara has held leadership positions in a number of international bodies, working to advance global standards for securities regulation and codes of conduct for market participants. He has served as the Vice Chairman of the Board of the International Organizations for Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Chairman of the Public Interest Oversight Board Monitoring Group, the SEC Deputy to both the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the IFRS Foundation Monitoring Board, and led IOSCO task forces to set standards and codes of conduct for rating agencies and accounting firms following the financial scandals in the 2000s.
Mr. Tafara is an Adjunct Professor on Regulation of International Securities Markets at the Georgetown University Law Center, and has published a number of articles in leading journals, including the Harvard International Law Journal and the Georgetown Journal of International Law.
In 2015, Mr. Tafara was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the International Valuation Standards Council, the global standard setter for valuation practice for various traded classes of assets and liabilities.
Before joining the SEC, he worked at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission as Counsel to the Chairman, and in the Chief Counsel’s Office of the Division of Enforcement. He started his legal career in the Brussels office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen, and Hamilton.
Mr. Tafara holds a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University. Mr. Tafara is a US national. He was born and grew up in Ethiopia and speaks Amharic, French, Italian, and Spanish, in addition to English. He is married and has two sons.