The Senate voted Tuesday to extend Gary Gensler’s term as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) through 2026, cementing his control of the top regulator of U.S. financial markets.
The Senate vote was 54-45, with four Republicans voting in favor. Gensler had already been confirmed to the SEC last week, although it was only to fill the term of former Chair Jay Clayton, which ends in June.
Gensler was sworn into his position Saturday, and he announced the appointments of several key staff members Monday. Among them was Policy Director Heather Slavkin Corzo, who was previously an executive at one of the country’s largest labor groups, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.
“As Chair, every day I will be animated by our mission: protecting investors, facilitating capital formation, and promoting fair, orderly, and efficient markets,” Gensler said in a statement upon being sworn in. “It is that mission that has helped make American capital markets the most robust in the world.”
Gensler joins with Democratic Commissioners Allison Herren Lee and Caroline Crenshaw to form a new 3-2 majority.
A former executive at Goldman Sachs, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2009-14, and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gensler comes to the table with a mandate from President Joe Biden to implement the administration’s policy goals onto the market through regulation.
Gensler’s priorities at the SEC are likely to include:
- New rules for public companies on how to disclose the risks posed to their businesses by climate change;
- Clarity for investment firms and broker-dealers on exactly what constitutes environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments, along with rulemaking on how to demonstrate those investments meet the standard;
- Rulemaking that promotes increased diversity in corporate governance;
- Increased enforcement actions on insider trading violations;
- Increased enforcement actions against companies “impeding” whistleblowers;
- Addressing the market volatility that occurred during the “meme stocks” craze; and
- Providing clarity on which digital currencies should actually be classified as securities and which should not.
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