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Senate to Vote Thursday on Walsh DOL, Gensler SEC Nominations

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What You Need to Know

  • UPDATE: The Senate has moved Walsh's vote to Monday, along with Gensler's consideration.
  • Gensler, a former CFTC chairman, is a professor of blockchain and digital currency at MIT.
  • Labor allowed the Trump DOL fiduciary rule to take effect but is abandoning two ESG rules.

(UPDATE: Senate Sets Monday Vote on Walsh DOL Nomination)

The Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on the nominations of Marty Walsh to serve as Labor secretary and Gary Gensler to serve as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The U.S. Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee voted 18-4 on Feb. 11 to advance Walsh’s nomination to the full Senate.

The Senate Banking Committee voted 14-10 on March 10 to advance Gensler’s nomination 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.

In a surprise move, Labor allowed the Trump administration’s fiduciary prohibited transaction exemption to go into effect on Feb. 16.

The exemption, called “Improving Investment Advice for Worker & Retirees,” is “broadly aligned” with Reg BI, according to Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Labor, however, said on March 10 that it will abandon two rules adopted under the Trump administration that would have made it more difficult for retirement plans to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their investment options and in their proxy votes.

A former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gensler is 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.

Walsh, a Democrat, was sworn in to serve a second term as mayor of Boston on Jan.1, 2018. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1997 to 2014, representing the 13th Suffolk district.

Pictured: Gary Gensler. (Photo: Bloomberg)