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Senate Confirms Gary Gensler as SEC Chair

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What You Need to Know

  • Gensler is a former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  • IRI looks forward to working with Gensler to address the retirement security challenges America’s workers and retirees
  • At Senate Banking Committee hearing, Gensler laid out steps he'd take to address the GameStop trading frenzy.

The Senate confirmed by a 53-45 vote Wednesday Gary Gensler to serve as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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.

A former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gensler was a professor of blockchain, digital currency, financial technology and public policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and senior advisor to the influential Digital Currency Initiative of the MIT Media Lab.

Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America, tweeted after the vote: “Gary Gensler’s market expertise, regulatory experience, and commitment to the public interest make him uniquely qualified to serve as SEC Chair. Let’s get him sworn in. There’s work to be done.”

Acting SEC Chair Allison Herren Lee and Commissioners Hester Peirce, Elad Roisman and Caroline Crenshaw said in a joint statement on twitter: “We welcome him back to public service and look forward to working together to execute our vital mission.”

Robert Cook, president and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, said in a statement that “Chairman Gensler brings to the Commission an outstanding record of public service, deep expertise in the functioning of our capital markets, and consistent advocacy for the interests of investors. We look forward to working with Chairman Gensler to advance our shared mission of protecting investors and ensuring market integrity.”

Wayne Chopus, IRI President and CEO, said Wednesday in a statement that “IRI looks forward to working with Chair Gensler and the Commission to address the retirement security challenges America’s workers and retirees are facing as they seek to save for and produce sustainable lifetime income during their retirement years.”

Dale Brown, president and CEO of the Financial Services Institute, said Wednesday in another statement that IRI encourages Gensler “to build upon Reg BI’s success and preserve its effectiveness for both financial advisors and the Main Street Americans they serve. We also ask that he ensures the Commission provides clear, consistent rulemaking and enforcement that is workable for all stakeholders. We look forward to working with Chairman Gensler toward our shared goals of investor protection and effective regulations.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., a member of the Senate Banking Committee, voted no.

“The SEC’s mission includes facilitating capital formation and maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets,” Toomey said in a statement.

“The SEC has neither the responsibility nor the authority to use its regulatory powers to advance a liberal social agenda on issues such as global warming, political spending, and diversity. Based on Gary Gensler’s record and statements during his nomination process, I’m concerned he will use the SEC in this inappropriate manner and stray from the SEC’s tradition of bipartisanship,” Toomey said.

“As a result, I cannot support his nomination.”