The U.S. Senate cleared
Gensler, whose nomination was approved Wednesday in a 53-to-45 vote, is poised to confront everything from the fallout of the
The role of market watchdog is a familiar one for Gensler, 63. He ran the
At the SEC, he’ll lead a sprawling bureaucracy where most employees have been working from home for more than a year because of the pandemic. In a joint statement following his confirmation, the agency’s four current commissioners welcomed him aboard. The SEC will be back to full strength with five members when Gensler is sworn in, putting Democrats in the majority.
It’s widely expected that he will clash with corners of the financial industry as he pivots from the policies put in place by
Issues that lawmakers expect Gensler to tackle were on display during his March 2 confirmation hearing. Senators asked his views on Bitcoin, popular trading apps like the one operated by Robinhood Markets, whether public companies are adequately disclosing the business risks of climate change, and the inner workings of the stock market.
“Mr. Gensler will bring the SEC’s focus back to the people who make this country work and push to ensure that markets are a way for families to save and invest for their kids’ education, a down payment on a home, and for a secure retirement -- not a game for hedge fund managers where workers always lose,” Brown said in a statement following Wednesday’s vote.
Gensler garnered the support of a few Republican senators, including Susan Collins of Maine, but he was largely confirmed along party lines. The division means he’s certain to face stiff pushback from GOP lawmakers as he moves to implement parts of his agenda at the agency.
Early flashpoints could emerge if Gensler makes good on his promises to review whether firms like Robinhood have inappropriately made trading resemble video games and the controversial practice of brokers selling customer orders to Citadel Securities and other market-makers.
January’s frenzied trading of GameStop and other stocks will probably play a prominent role in Gensler’s agenda. The SEC is expected to soon release a report on what happened and is separately investigating for signs of market manipulation. The flood of share sales tied to
Last month’s implosion of
Gensler is expected to continue SEC Acting Chair
(Updates with trade groups’ reaction in fifth paragraph, Sherrod Brown comment starting in seventh.)
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