The full Senate confirmed Jay Clayton as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission by a 61-37 vote Tuesday evening.
Industry groups were quick to applaud the former Sullivan & Cromwell partner’s appointment, with most expressing their view that Clayton should put adopting a uniform fiduciary rule (also known as a best interest standard) for brokers and advisors at the top of his priorities.
Financial Services Roundtable CEO Tim Pawlenty said that he “looks forward to working with the SEC on regulatory initiatives that will have a positive impact on the economy including a ‘best interest standard’ for retail investors, regulatory harmonization, simplified financial disclosures and more to benefit Americans.”
David Bellaire, executive vice president and general counsel of the Financial Services Institute, stated that FSI has “always believed the top priority of the SEC should be protecting investors. Adopting a true, uniform fiduciary duty that protects investors and their access to affordable, objective financial advice must finally be given the serious attention it deserves.”
Cathy Weatherford, president and CEO of the Insured Retirement Institute, agreed that chief among Clayton’s tasks should be for the Commission to” take a leading role in promulgating a consistent best interest standard of care for financial professionals” as well as a variable annuity summary prospectus.
Better Markets president and CEO Dennis Kelleher called on Clayton to fix “the conflict-ridden credit rating agencies” as well as adopt “a strong fiduciary duty rule that requires broker-dealers to always put their clients’ best interests first.”