The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association has hired former U.S. Rep. Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr. as head of its office here and as executive vice president of public policy and advocacy.

A Texas Democrat and former muni market banker, Bentsen served in the House from 1995 to 2003, and most recently has been president and chief operating officer of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, which represents financial services companies and manufacturers in the $650 billion U.S. equipment finance sector.

He will start at SIFMA next month and report directly to Timothy Ryan, the trade group's president and chief executive officer.

"With his breadth of financial experience in both the private and public sector, Ken understands our members' public policy goals and business interest and will help drive our efforts to play a proactive, constructive role in the ongoing regulatory reform debate," Ryan said in a statement.

At SIFMA, Bentsen will be responsible for the trade group's legal, governmental and legislative affairs activities as well as its advocacy initiatives.

While in Congress, Bentsen sat on the House Financial Services Committee and its predecessor, the Banking and Financial Services Committee, as well as on the Budget Committee. He participated in the drafting and enactment of a number of important pieces of legislation, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000, SIFMA said.

Prior to his election to Congress, Bentsen was an investment banker at George K. Baum & Co. Before that, he was briefly at the former firm of Kirchner Moore & Co. after working at the now-defunct Drexel Burnham Lambert between 1987 and part of 1990, where he specialized municipal and housing finance.

Bentsen, who is the nephew of former Texas senator and U.S. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, has a bachelor's degree from the University of St. Thomas and an M.P.A. from American University.

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