US SEC’s Peirce Congratulates Roisman as Agency’s Acting Head

December 27, 2020 Updated: December 27, 2020

WASHINGTON—U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Elad Roisman will be named the agency’s acting head, after Chairman Jay Clayton officially announced he was stepping down on Dec. 23, according to a tweet by fellow Republican Commissioner Hester Peirce on Dec. 24.

“Congratulations, Chairman Roisman! I look forward to your leadership of the SEC,” Pierce wrote.

Roisman, the SEC and the White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The move by Clayton was widely expected as he had previously indicated his desire to leave the agency by the end of the year.

Roisman, who has been a commissioner since 2018, would run the agency, which oversees public companies, brokers, Wall Street banks, and investment funds, until a new chair is selected.

Clayton, a former Wall Street lawyer, was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017. His departure leaves the SEC, which is led by political appointees who vote on rules and other key issues, tied at two Republican and two Democratic commissioners. That makes it unlikely that Roisman will be able to bring any substantial or contentious rulemakings to a vote while he is caretaker.

Democratic SEC Commissioner Allison Lee and former Democratic commissioners Kara Stein and Rob Jackson are contenders to replace Clayton, Reuters has previously reported.

Gary Gensler, a former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is also a contender, as is Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney in New York City, who Trump fired in 2017.

Roisman is a former SEC and U.S. Senate lawyer. As commissioner, he has led a campaign to overhaul shareholder voting rules with the backing of congressional Republicans.

Progressive Democrats, investor groups, and powerful unions have opposed the changes, saying they muzzle investors and will make it harder to push corporations on climate change and social issues. Analysts expect Biden would try to reverse them.

A formal White House decision to appoint Roisman as acting chair would break with protocol. Typically, the longer-serving party commissioner, in this case, Peirce, would be promoted. Peirce is an conservative who has often broken ranks with her fellow Republicans on enforcement issues and cryptocurrency oversight.

By Katanga Johnson