The Senate Banking Committee has unanimously approved Hester Peirce and Robert Jackson for full Senate consideration for posts as SEC commissioners. The favorable report is not surprising, as no committee members questioned the nominees’ competence during prior hearing questioning, with many sticking to noncontroversial subjects, such as cybersecurity.
If both nominees are confirmed, it will restore a five-member Commission and maintain a balance among political parties with one Independent (Chairman Clayton), two Republicans (Commission Michael Piwowar and Peirce), and two Democrats (Commissioner Kara Stein and Jackson).
Committee Chairman Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) noted that the nominees provided clear information on their priorities if confirmed and demonstrated more than sufficient knowledge of the financial industry to improve markets and protect investors. While echoing these positive sentiments, however, Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) stated his expectation that, if confirmed, Peirce and Jackson will make investor protection their key concern and assist the Commission in its efforts to ensure the integrity and fairness of the markets. Recent news reports have noted that the SEC will obtain fewer admissions of guilt and focus primarily on fraud targeting retail investors, but the agency should be keeping tabs on large institutions that engage in systematic misconduct, as well as those that prey on Main Street investors, he stressed. If funding is issue for maintaining a broad SEC enforcement program, the commissioners and the nominees should speak up, he concluded.
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