Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton confirmed early Monday that he is stepping down from his post at year-end.
Clayton was sworn in on May 4, 2017, and will leave the SEC as one of its longest serving chairs.
“Working alongside the incredibly talented and driven women and men of the SEC has been the highlight of my career,” Clayton said Monday in a statement. “I am proud of our collective efforts to advance each part of the SEC’s tripartite mission, always with an eye on the interests of our Main Street investors. The U.S. capital markets ecosystem is the strongest and most nimble in the world, and thanks to the hard work of the diverse and inclusive SEC team, we have improved investor protections, promoted capital formation for small and larger businesses, and enabled our markets to function more transparently and efficiently.”
Names being floated to replace Clayton under President-elect Joe Biden include Gary Gensler, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York under former President Barack Obama.
James Angel, associate professor of finance at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, told ThinkAdvisor Monday in an email that he doubts “the lame duck Trump administration will try to ram through his [Clayton's] nomination” to the Southern District of New York post.
Trump nominated Clayton to take over as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, replacing Geoffrey Berman, who was fired.
“That [nomination] had stalled due to the Senate tradition of deferring to opposition from NY’s senators,” Angel said. “I doubt whether [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell would want to spend political capital pushing a lame duck appointment for Clayton through, when the new president would just fire him at 12:01pm on January 20th.”
Clayton’s departure “leaves the SEC rudderless,” Angel added, and “the nice thing about quitting now signals to the incoming administration that they need to fill the job right away.”
Rules Advanced Under Clayton
Clayton advanced more than 65 final rules to date from the commission’s policy divisions and offices, chief among them Regulation Best Interest and the Customer Relationship Summary form, or Form CRS.