The Jay Clayton Era at the SEC Has Begun

Jay Clayton was sworn in last week as the new Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. That makes him the first permanent head of a financial regulator during the Trump administration.

Yesterday, Chairman Clayton gave his first public speech by making the opening remarks at the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies.

Facilitating capital formation is one of the central tenets of the SEC’s mission and it is a focus that this committee and I share. One of my priorities is for the Commission to focus on facilitating capital-raising opportunities for all companies, including, and importantly, small- and medium-sized businesses. Doing so will not only help those companies, but it also will provide expanded opportunities for investors, help our economy grow, facilitate innovation, and further job creation.

Nothing dramatic. We expected Chairman Clayton to have more of a focus on capital formation than enforcement actions. He comes from a capital formation background. Former Chair White came from a prosecutorial background.

It’s not too early to look to the rest of the Commission. There are still two vacancies. The candidates put worth by President Obama are back working at their old jobs. I think there is little expectation that they will end up in those vacant seats.

Commissioner Stein’s term expires next month. That will give President Trump three seats to fill.

The law is that no more three commissioners may belong to the same political party (Section 4 of the Exchange Act). Chairman Clayton and Commissioner Piwowar are both Republicans. Would it surprise anyone if President Trump nominated another Republican to fill the vacant seat of Commissioner Stein and leave the other two seats vacant?