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President-Elect Trump to Nominate Jay Clayton to Lead the SEC's picture
Commentary by Steven Lofchie

President-elect Donald J. Trump will nominate Jay Clayton to lead the SEC.

Mr. Clayton is a partner at Sullivan and Cromwell LLP, where his practice "involves public and private mergers and acquisitions transactions, capital markets offerings, regulatory and enforcement proceedings, and other matters where multidisciplinary advice and experience is valued." Mr. Clayton received a B.S. in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, a B.A. in economics from the University of Cambridge in 1990, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1993.

President-elect Trump stated:

"Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules at the same time. We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers."


Mr. Clayton appears to have significant experience in matters of corporate law. Nominating an attorney with real business experience (as opposed to a litigator) to lead the SEC is a change in approach. Enforcement always must be a priority for the SEC, but it need not be the primary concern. A significant part of the SEC's mission concerns the development of a regulatory system that fosters economic growth.

There are two vacancies on the Commission: one Republican and one Democrat (Commissioner Kara Stein being the sole remaining Democrat at that level). Current Republican SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar has significant expertise in areas related to market regulation, so he and Mr. Clayton will share a broad set of practical skills.

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