What’s Next for Departing Rep. Hensarling?

'Much work remains' during his 14 months left on the job, Hensarling said, but his next stop could be the FHFA

Rep. Jeb Hensarling. (Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons) Rep. Jeb Hensarling. (Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, announced on Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election in 2018, but he stated that "much work remains" during his remaining 14 months on the job.

With his term as chairman expiring next year, Hensarling said the time was right to head back home and spend some time with his two teenagers. “I want to be there for those years,” he said.

What could be next? Don’t expect official word on Hensarling’s next move until next fall at the earliest, said Jaret Seiberg, financial services and housing policy analyst for Cowen Washington Research Group.

But likely moves include replacing Federal Housing Finance Agency director Mel Watt, as his term expires in January 2019, or becoming the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“Hensarling has shown much greater interest in housing finance,” Seiberg said. “And running the CFPB is likely to be a giant headache for the first Republican director as Democrats have staffed up the agency and established its corporate culture.”

Hensarling said in a note released by his personal office regarding his retirement that “much work remains at the House Financial Services Committee in the areas of housing finance reform, regulatory relief, cybersecurity and capital formation to name just a few. Furthermore, important work remains in the Congress as a whole — especially pro-growth tax reform.”

House Passes Bills on Accredited Investors, IPOs

On Wednesday, the full House passed the Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act, sponsored by Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., which expands the definition of accredited investor. 

H.R. 1585 amends the Securities Act of 1933 to modify the definition of “accredited investor” for purposes of participating in private offerings to include an individual:

  • whose net worth, or joint net worth with their spouse, exceeds $1 million, excluding their primary residence;
  • whose income over the last two years exceeded $200,000, or joint spousal income exceeded $300,000;
  • who holds a state-issued financial services license; and
  • who is determined by the Securities and Exchange Commission to have qualifying education or experience.

The House also passed the same day H.R. 3903, the Encouraging Public Offerings Act, sponsored by Reps. Ted Budd, R-N.C., and Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., which would allow securities issuers making an initial public offering to communicate with potential investors before the offering and file draft registration statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

“The financial markets connect money to ideas, money needed to develop those ideas into products and services that we all use,” said Budd when the bill passed. “Our country has the same number of public companies today as in the 1980s, when the economy was much smaller. There are a number of reasons for that, but one of them is that the process of going public has become more and more difficult. Our bill will make significant changes to the securities laws to reduce the risk that companies face when they go public, and ensure that the everyday investor has access to the opportunities that help Americans who save see their money grow.”

Both of the bills orginated in the House Financial Services Committee. Hensarling stated that both of the bipartisan bills “will help build a healthier, more robust economy that offers growth opportunities for all.”

--- Check out Powell Pledges to Pursue Fed’s Employment, Inflation Goals on ThinkAdvisor.

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