On April 17, Gary Gensler was sworn in as Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). After being nominated by President Biden on February 3, 2021, Gensler was confirmed by the Senate in a 53-to-45 vote on April 14. Gensler is a non-attorney, and will be the sole non-attorney serving on the Commission. According to his MIT faculty profile, Gensler is a Wharton MBA and a former partner at Goldman Sachs. Gensler’s career includes multiple forays into public service, including serving as senior advisor to Senator Paul Sarbanes in drafting the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (2002) and as chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under President Barack Obama. After his years on Wall Street, Gensler is not viewed as an enemy to business by businesspeople or conservative politicians, and his reputation as a reformer and champion of investor protection helped him garner the support he needed from the Democratic Caucus to be confirmed.
Gensler’s leadership is likely to lead to a transformative period for the SEC, as it did for the CFTC. As head of the CFTC, he led the enforcement effort in the LIBOR manipulation investigation, which may inspire an increased focus at the SEC on market manipulation. We are likely to see the impact of this priority early on in Gensler’s tenure with investigations and potential enforcement actions for market manipulation in connection with the recent GameStop stock trading controversy. Also notable is Gensler’s most recent position as a professor teaching courses on Financial Technologies at MIT, which will likely inspire an increased emphasis at the SEC on the use of Big Data and artificial intelligence. Gensler’s role in drafting the Sarbanes-Oxley Act demonstrates that he expects a lot of publicly traded companies, and he is likely to use the vast tools at his disposal as Chairman of the SEC to ensure that those companies promote fair and transparent markets.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with SEC investigations and related securities litigation. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.