The Securities and Exchange Commission’s new chief Gary Gensler is set for back-to-back appearances before Congress this week, giving lawmakers their first chance to question the Wall Street regulator.
Gensler is scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee, and then on Wednesday before the House Committee on Financial Services.
Gensler, 64, took over as the SEC’s fifth chairman in April after a five-year appointment as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which he joined in 2009 during the Obama administration.
At the SEC, Gensler is expected to take a tough line on the enforcement of disclosure obligations at companies and greater scrutiny of the activities of broker-dealers. He also plans to propose significant reforms to the market structure, including introducing a uniform fiduciary duty on brokers and dealers to act in the best interest of their clients’ needs.
Gensler’s hearings come at a crucial time for the SEC as it seeks to gain greater control over a financial sector rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and a host of newly minted public companies. His confirmation paved the way for the nomination of two other Democratic commissioners, Allison Herren Lee and Caroline Crenshaw, meaning there are now three Democrats and two Republicans on the five-person commission.
Gensler will be under intense scrutiny from both sides of the aisle. Democrats will likely press him to move quickly on an array of long-delayed proposals, while Republicans will likely ask him to adopt a balanced approach that doesn’t overly burden the markets and investors.
Gensler is also expected to discuss measures underway to modernize the SEC’s decades-old systems and processes, as well as its new temporary rule to waive certain filing fees for small businesses and investment funds amid the pandemic.