After promising during the campaign to “get rid of Dodd-Frank,” President-elect Donald Trump has named a fellow critic of the post-financial crisis law to lead the transition team’s review of independent financial agencies.
Paul Atkins, a former Securities and Exchange Commissioner under President George W. Bush, served for six years on the top markets cop. He left the agency in 2008 and is now the chief executive of the financial and regulatory consulting firm Patomak Global Partners.
Bill Walton, chairman of the private equity firm Rappahannock Ventures, and David Malpass, a former chief economist for Bear Stearns, are heading the Trump transition team on economic issues. In 2010, Malpass ran as a Republican in New York’s special election to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate, losing in the primary.
Atkins didn’t respond to a request for comment from The National Law Journal. But his past statements and votes provide some picture of his approach to financial regulation and how he might seek to shape the SEC.
Beyond general calls to dismantle Dodd-Frank, Trump did not clearly articulate enforcement and policy positions for financial markets. But Atkins has given detailed—and oftentimes harsh—critiques of the financial reform law, taking swipes at everything from the heft of its rulemaking burden to the framework of the whistleblower program.
Testifying before the Senate banking committee in 2011, Atkins called the Dodd-Frank law a rushed “calamity” that would breed uncertainty without directly addressing the causes of the financial crisis.
“It is my belief that a major cause of the uncertainty handcuffing our economy today is in fact government policy, particularly the sweeping new financial law enacted last year ostensibly for the sake of market stability and investor confidence,” Atkins said. “Because many of the provisions were not directly related to the underpinnings of the financial crisis, investors ultimately will pay for the increased costs associated with the mandates without receiving commensurate benefits.”
Atkins added: “That is the single tragedy of Dodd-Frank.”