Practice Areas
  • Government Investigations
  • Internal Investigations
  • Banking Litigation
  • Law clerk to Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2000-01
  • J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law, 2000, North Carolina Law Review
  • B.A. in English, Davidson College, 1992
Bar & Court Admissions
  • North Carolina
    District of Columbia
    U.S. Supreme Court
    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
    U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
    U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina
    U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina

David Smyth

Photo of David  Smyth
1600 Wells Fargo Capitol Center
150 Fayetteville Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601
T: (919) 573-6218
F: (336) 232-9218


David Smyth has a wide-ranging enforcement and litigation practice that focuses on representation of individuals and corporations facing action by federal and state authorities.  David also conducts internal corporate investigations and advises companies on compliance with federal and state securities laws and other laws and regulations.  David has handled cases in three of the SEC’s regional offices and its Home Office in Washington, D.C.  David has also led the defense of investigations by the CFTC, CFPB, and federal criminal prosecutors.  Throughout these matters, David has demonstrated the skills that make him a sought-after counselor and advocate: respect of the regulators, sensitivity to the nuances present in complex business environments, and a deep understanding of his clients’ industries.  David’s work in corporate compliance extends to public companies, investment advisers, broker-dealers, and other entities with complex regulatory issues.  David also participates in financial services litigation, both in federal court and in arbitrations before FINRA.

David previously served as an Assistant Director in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.  While at the SEC from 2005 to 2011, he spearheaded high-profile investigations and litigation involving insider trading, financial statement and disclosure fraud, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, investment advisory fraud, auditor misconduct and broker-dealer misconduct.  David was also instrumental in establishing and supervising the Enforcement Division’s Office of Market Intelligence, created in the wake of the Bernard Madoff scandal to revamp the SEC’s process for receiving and analyzing whistleblower tips regarding potential violations of the federal securities laws.  David’s work in hedge fund investigations was the origin of the SEC’s Aberrational Performance Inquiry.  Recent matters have included:

Government Investigations

  • Representing a former CEO of a publicly traded company in an insider trading investigation by the SEC;
  • Representing an investment management firm in a complex investigation by the SEC’s Asset Management Unit;
  • Representing numerous CEOs in multiple financial fraud investigations by the SEC;
  • Representing an individual in an investigation conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau;
  • Representing individual in a federal criminal Electronic Benefit Transfer fraud (i.e., “EBT” or food stamp fraud) investigation;
  • Represented numerous registered representatives under investigation by FINRA;
  • Represented attorney in an investigation by the N.C. State Bar’s Grievance Committee;
  • Represented out-of-state law firm in an investigation by the N.C. State Bar’s Authorized Practice Committee;
  • Represented an individual in an insider trading investigation by the SEC – client was not charged with misconduct;
  • Represented individual in connection with an SEC investigation into alleged Ponzi scheme – client was not charged with misconduct;
  • Represented individual in investigation into forex trading by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission – matter was resolved privately and without public charges;
  • Represented an individual in a joint insider trading investigation by the SEC and federal criminal prosecutors.


  • Representing an individual in novel litigation against the SEC involving a “survivor option” in corporate bonds;
  • Argued the nation’s first motion to dismiss under SLUSA after the landmark decision in Chadbourne & Parke v. Troice (2014);
  • For a Big Four accounting firm, have led the response to third party subpoenas involving TILA/Regulation Z, RESPA/Regulation X, and the completed contract method of tax accounting;
  • Representing numerous clients in FINRA arbitrations involving alleged securities violations;
  • Representing numerous clients in litigation involving interest rate swaps.   


  • Repeated and ongoing counsel to investment advisers and private funds on compliance with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940;
  • Repeated and ongoing counsel to issuers of private placements on compliance with Regulation D;
  • Ongoing advice to a publicly traded mining company on compliance with SEC Industry Guide 7, Reg. S-K, Reg. S-X, and Reg. FD;
  • Ongoing advice to a registered broker-dealer on compliance with SEC and FINRA rules;
  • Drafted FCPA compliance program for a major textile producer;
  • Advised an EB-5 regional center on compliance with broker-dealer registration requirements and the FCPA;
  • Advised a large investment fund on compliance with the FCPA;
  • Representing a biotechnology company regarding potential FCPA violations in China;
  • Drafted guide to export regulations compliance for a major textile producer;
  • Advised and coordinated responses for numerous companies on data security breaches;
  • Drafted a data privacy policy for a registered broker-dealer.

Seminars & Speaking Engagements


Honors & Awards

  • SEC Law and Policy Award—2011
  • SEC Business Processes Award—2011
  • SEC Enforcement Division Director’s Awards—2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Professional & Community Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association, 2011-
  • Member, North Carolina Bar Association, 2011-
  • Member, Wake County Bar Association, 2011-