Joe Biden’s presidential transition has barely started but already banks and investment firms are anxious about two names they fear are in the running to lead the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The uneasiness started late last week, when news broke that Gary Gensler — a scourge of Wall Street when he led the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — had been tapped to examine financial regulators for the president-elect. That fueled concerns that Gensler himself might be in line for the top job at the SEC or another agency he’s reviewing.
Then Washington lobbyists and industry trade groups got wind of another SEC contender who they would find potentially more alarming: Preet Bharara, Manhattan’s former top federal prosecutor.
Bharara loomed large over Wall Street in the decade following the 2008 financial crisis, when he aggressively investigated insider trading and contributed to SAC Capital Advisors, Steven Cohen’s old hedge fund firm, shutting its doors.
Biden’s transition team didn’t respond to requests for comment, nor did Gensler or Bharara.
Gensler and Bharara are among many names Biden advisers are discussing as possible SEC candidates, according to more than a dozen people familiar with the conversations who asked not to be named in sharing private communications.
But the deliberations are in their early stages and Biden has suggested he may not even start offering nominees for higher-profile cabinet positions — like Treasury secretary and attorney general — until next month.