John V. Ayanian Partner

John is a partner in the firm’s Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation and Securities Enforcement & Litigation teams, where he anchors the broker-dealer regulatory counseling practice, advising clients on broker-dealer and securities markets regulation.

He counsels U.S. and foreign financial institutions and markets on all aspects of their U.S. securities trading, markets, and clearing activities. These include issues arising under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules. He also advises broker-dealers on regulatory matters involving merger and acquisition transactions. Additionally, John advises market centers on issues involving market structure issues in the equity and options markets.

Representing broker-dealers, John counsels clients on a wide range of U.S. federal and state registration and compliance issues; and self-regulatory organization (SRO) membership and compliance issues. He also guides these clients through issues involving the trading of fixed-income securities, exchange-traded options, and exchange-traded funds; broker-dealer and investment adviser networking and compensation arrangements; and issues relating to the dissemination of securities analyst research reports.

In his work with financial institutions, John advises on a wide range of issues involving SEC and FINRA rules. These include sales practice, advertising, net capital and customer protection, market structure, and the publication of securities analyst research reports, as well as issues involving the use of money market and bank deposit sweep programs.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, John has served as the co-chair of a national law firm’s financial services industry initiative, the Washington, D.C. office practice leader for the firm's investment management practice, as well as the office managing partner. He was vice president and assistant general counsel with a national bank holding company, where he worked with its broker-dealer subsidiaries. He also served as a staff attorney and Special Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Market Regulation, Office of Market Supervision, where he was responsible for the regulation of trading and markets.


Represented a major U.S. financial institution on regulatory aspects of numerous broker-dealer acquisitions.

Advised broker-dealers in connection with implementation of disclosures and compliance programs in response to Regulation Best Interest.

Advised numerous broker-dealers in connection with the development of their respective cash sweep programs.

Counseled an industry trade association on issues involving clearing broker-dealers.

Advised an industry trade association on advocacy before the SEC in connection with amendments to Rule 15c3-3 involving cash sweep programs.

Advised an industry trade association on advocacy relating to the regulation of outsourced activities of broker-dealers.

Represented a non-U.S. securities and derivatives market as regulatory counsel in connection with the first-ever acquisition of a U.S. registered national securities exchange by a foreign entity.

  • DePaul University College of Law, JD, Executive Editor, DePaul Business Law Journal, 1993
  • University of Michigan, BA, 1990

Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America, Securities/Capital Markets Law, Washington, D.C. 2022, 2023

Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Corporate Investigations and White-collar Criminal Defense, 2022

Ranked, Financial Services Regulation: Broker Dealer (Compliance), Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2009–2022

  • District of Columbia
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