Tamar Frankel Interviewed by Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society

Frankel speaks with Kenneth Durr for the Virtual Museum and Archive of the History of Financial Regulation in an installment of the Society’s oral histories series.

Boston University School of Law Professor Tamar Frankel was interviewed for an oral histories series by the Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society. Frankel was recently selected to receive the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Law School’s Section on Women in Legal Education. She was also a visiting scholar at the SEC from 1995 to 1997. In the interview, Frankel speaks with Dr. Kenneth Durr about her personal history and her career in fiduciary law. Listen to the full interview here:


A native of Palestine, Frankel came of age during the 1948 Palestine War and was a member of the underground movement, the Haganah. When the State of Israel was declared, she was one of the first to earn the license to practice law in the new country. She studied law at the Jerusalem Law Classes in Israel and learned financial and real estate law while working in her father’s office. Frankel was a part of the State of Israel’s legislation department, where questions were raised about “basic fundamentals” of law.

Frankel later studied law at Harvard, where says she “didn’t want to chew cud, to do again and again what I know. I’m looking always for something that I don’t.” Her first academic work was a thesis on variable annuities, a work that lawyers and the SEC use to this day. She published an article suggesting that fiduciaries should be examined, which received some pushback and hostility.

She has worked with the Brookings Institute and the investment management division of the SEC. She became involved in rulemaking because she “was there and listened,” she said. After she published a book, Fiduciary Law, in 2010, the Institute for Fiduciary Standard created an award in her name. Each year, a roundtable of academics and practitioners gather to discuss fiduciary law and honor individuals who advance fiduciary principles with the Frankel Fiduciary Prize.

Now, Frankel is shifting from academic writing to writing for the public. She is currently working on a book that will contain a series of op-eds, in which she wants to appeal to a larger audience.

Reported by Kaya Williams (COM’20)

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