Nominee for SEC Chair To Testify Before Senate Committee

Gary Gensler, nominated by President Biden to serve as Chair, Securities and Exchange Commission, will testify tomorrow before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Mr. Gensler stresses strengthening transparency and accountability for the markets “so people can invest with confidence, and be protected from fraud and manipulation. . .” according to his brief prepared remarks for the Committee. Throughout those remarks Mr. Gensler stresses his experience and knowledge of the markets, developed through years of work and service. He previously worked at Goldman Sachs, served as the Chair of the CFTC and currently teaches courses focused on the markets at MIT.

His term as the CFTC under President Obama from May 2009 through early 2014 may be the best guide to how the nominee would serve as Chairman of the SEC. During the period of his service Congress passed the massive Dodd-Frank Act. That transformative piece of legislation gave the small agency led by Mr. Gensler a massive job: Write the rules and regulations for governing the swaps markets. He did; passed them with largely bipartisan support, and they have worked.

Mr. Gensler’s CFTC work also illustrates the kind of leader he would be at the SEC: One dedicated to moving the agency forward to provide what he calls the “clear rules of the road and a cop on the beat to enforce them.” That kind of leadership will be critical to moving the economy forward and helping the nation prosper as the country emerges from the covid pandemic.

There is no doubt that the challenges at the SEC will be significant. To begin there is virtually nobody home – there are few senior staff positions that have not been vacated. The agency also has a docket of issues and questions ranging from new listing standards for Nasdaq to a revamp of critical disclosure requirements and trading questions arising from recent disturbances in the markets. There is little doubt, however, that Mr. Gensler has the experience and expertise to direct the Commission in a manner that is consistent with its long and successful history.

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