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Gensler SEC Nomination Advances to Senate

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What You Need to Know

  • Gensler's nomination now moves to the full Senate.
  • At his Senate Banking nomination hearing, Gensler addressed the GameStop trading frenzy, as well as his approach to regulating cryptocurrencies.
  • Gensler is an expert in blockchain and digital assets.

The Senate Banking Committee approved by a 14-10 vote Wednesday the nomination of Gary Gensler to be chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Gensler’s nomination now moves to the full Senate.

During his nomination hearing on March 2 before the committee, Gensler laid out the steps he’d consider to address the recent market volatility related to the GameStop trading frenzy, as well as his approach to regulating cryptocurrencies.

The SEC’s Regulation Best Interest, however, was not discussed during the hearing.

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In his prepared remarks, Gensler stated that when “the SEC does its job — when there are clear rules of the road and a cop on the beat to enforce them — our economy grows and our nation prospers. But when we take our eyes off the ball — when we fail to root out wrongdoing, or to adapt to new technologies, or to really understand novel financial instruments — things can go very wrong. And when that happens, people get hurt.”

He promises to continue the SEC’s goals of “strengthening transparency and accountability in our markets, so people can invest with confidence, and be protected from fraud and manipulation.”

Gensler is currently a professor of blockchain, digital currency, financial technology and public policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and senior adviser to the influential Digital Currency Initiative of the MIT Media Lab.

“Although his public comments have been a mixed bag, including criticism and defenses of various developments in the digital asset space, he [Gensler] is by virtually all accounts an expert in the area and has the appropriate experience and knowledge to make informed policy judgments,” Ropes & Gray attorneys Jeremiah Williams, Helen Gugel and Stefan Schropp wrote in a recent briefing.