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White House Nominates Peirce, Fairfax as New SEC Commissioners

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The White House announced Tuesday that it has nominated George Washington University law professor Lisa Fairfax and Mercatus fellow Hester Peirce to replace SEC Commissioners Luis Aguilar and Daniel Gallagher.

Peirce replaces Gallagher, a Republican, who left his post on Oct. 2; his term was to expire in 2016.

Peirce, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, has also served as a lawyer for the Senate Banking Committee, and is a verbal opponent of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Pierce would also likely oppose a fiduciary rule issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission that imposes the Investment Adviser Act fiduciary duty on brokers.

Fairfax, who would replace Aguilar, a Democrat, is the Leroy Sorenson Merrifield Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. Prior to joining the GW law faculty, Fairfax was a professor of law and director of the Business Law Program at the University of Maryland School of Law.

“I want to congratulate Lisa Fairfax and Hester Peirce on their nominations to be SEC commissioners,” said Chairwoman Mary Jo White, in a statement. “As their confirmation process moves forward, the Commission remains focused on its critical work to protect America’s investors and our markets.”

White added that she commends “Commissioner Luis Aguilar for his seven years of dedicated service to investors and the agency. His knowledge, hard work and passion for the agency’s mission have been invaluable.  I want to express my gratitude for his friendship and for all he has done and continues to do as a commissioner.”

David Tittsworth, the former president and CEO of the Investment Adviser Association in Washington who’s now counsel with Ropes & Gray, said that “If for no other reason, I think most SEC observers would agree that the Commission has an opportunity to function at a higher level when all five seats are filled.”

He expects the Senate to move forward on these nominations by the end of the year.

If Peirce and Fairfax are confirmed by the Senate, Republican Commissioner Michael Piwowar would be the only man on the five-member Commission.

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