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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Clayton Is About to Take Over the SEC

News summary by MFWire's editors

It took four months, but the U.S. Senate has given its approval to President Donald Trump's choice for SEC chief: Jay Clayton. The ICI and others are already congratulating Clayton, who could be sworn in as early as tomorrow.

Jay Clayton
Sullivan & Cromwell
Yesterday, by a vote of 61 to 37 (two Senators didn't vote), the Senate confirmed Clayton, a veteran Wall Street M&A attorney with a previously low media profile, to take over as the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nine Democrats broke ranks and joined Republicans to vote in favor of Clayton, one month after the Senate Banking Committee approved Clayton. InvestmentNews, Politico, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post all reported on Clayton's confirmation.

During the confirmation process, Clayton came under fire from Senate Democrats for his ties to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks who have been his clients at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. (Clayton's wife also works for Goldman, though the expectation so far has been that she'll step down if and when Clayton takes over the SEC.) And there's been speculation that Clayton will be supportive of regulatory changes to make IPOing easier and more enticing.

There have been few hints so far as to what take Clayton brings to issues connected to asset management and wealth management. Yet Investment Company Institute president and CEO Paul Schott Stevens has already publicly congratulated and praised Clayton for his "broad professional experience in the world of finance and the capital markets."

"We have great confidence that in his new role he will successfully carry on the agency's vital missions of protecting investors; maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets; and facilitating capital formation," Stevens states. "We look forward to working with him."

If Clayton's confirmation process had moved faster, he could have been taking the main stage later this week at the ICI's General Membership Meeting (GMM).

Finra president and CEO Robert Cook and SIFMA president and CEO Kenneth Bentsen also issued public congratulations on Clayton's confirmation.

Meanwhile, even with Clayton's confirmation, the SEC will still have two empty commissioner seats (one Republican and one Democrat). Two other commissioners remain from the Mary Jo White era under Obama: acting chairman Michael Piwowar (a Republican whose term expires next year) and Kara Stein (a Democrat whose term expires later this year). 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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