Yesterday, the Senate, in a vote largely along party lines, approved the nomination of Gary Gensler to be the new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs executive who also ran the Commodities Futures Trading Commission during the Obama administration, is expected to lead the SEC in a different direction from that of former chair Jay Clayton.
Gensler’s appointment as the chair of the SEC breaks the 2-2 deadlock that resulted when Clayton stepped down following the presidential election in 2020. Somewhat interestingly, Gensler’s appointment was approved only for the remaining portion of Clayton’s term – which ends June 5, 2021, though under existing rules, he may remain in the position without further Senate approval for up to 18 months following the end of that term. I don’t believe this signals that Gensler’s term will be a short one though, as the Senate has already calendared a vote on his appointment through June 5, 2026, and the Senate Banking Committee has approved him serving through that date also.