John V. Ayanian Partner

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John Ayanian is co-chair of McGuireWoods’ Securities Enforcement & Regulatory Counseling practice group and advises clients on broker-dealer and securities market regulatory matters.

He has substantial experience advising broker-dealers, including retail, institutional, and clearing broker-dealers on a wide range of regulatory and compliance obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC, FINRA, and MSRB rules impacting their respective businesses. He regularly advises clients on broker-dealer status issues, Regulation Best Interest, Form CRS, conflicts of interest, disclosures, advertising, the distribution of investment products and investment research, trading issues, best execution obligations, and SEC and FINRA registration issues, and digital engagement practices. John also has significant experience on issues involving broker-dealers’ obligations under net capital and customer protection rules, market structure, regulatory matters involving mergers and acquisition transactions, as well as issues involving the use of money market and bank deposit sweep programs.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, John served as the co-chair of a national law firm’s financial services industry initiative, the practice leader for the firm’s broker-dealer regulatory practice, as well as the Washington, D.C. 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.