The second Republican nomination for the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has finally been appointed as SEC commissioner after an approval by the Senate at a confirmation hearing this Wednesday.
Elad Roisman will now join the other four commissioners who welcomed him in a statement made yesterday. They say:
“Congratulations to Elad on his successful Senate confirmation. We look forward to welcoming him back to the Commission to join us and our over 4,500 dedicated colleagues. We are confident Elad will make a substantial contribution to our mission on behalf of American investors.”
The commission now has a full house for the first time since 2015, but one of them, Kara M. Stein, has to step down this December. That would bring it down to four, and it may bring it to a stalemate as far as this space is concerned.
Hester M. Peirce, the other republican commissioner, has been championing this space, accusing SEC of acting as gatekeepers of innovation this July after they rejected a bitcoin ETF. The vote there was 3 to 1 against. May it become 2-2 or even 3 to 1 in favor?
“There’s a perception that the markets are rigged against the little guy and I think it’s important for the SEC to try to dispel that notion,” Roisman said at a recent Senate hearing.
That perception is based on some century old laws that clearly are rigged against the little guy for they prohibit the little guy from taking part in some very lucrative, and risky, investment opportunities.
Roisman’s articulation of it suggests he is of the view that something should be done about it, and there is a lot that SEC can do, with that further suggesting he may take the same views as Peirce.
If he does, decisions at SEC will become very interesting for they might often end up in a stalemate. Clayton, a very rich individual who worked as a lawyer to elite banks and bankers, is an independent with no political affiliations, raising the question as to why Trump nominated him.
That’s because Clayton has appeared to be democrat leaning on some issues, although it may well be the case he only cares to have favorable policy towards bankers and little else.
Robert J. Jackson would probably continue voting against a bitcoin ETF, something which may mean we may now have a very divided SEC that can’t get anything done at a time when Congress is asking them to do a lot of thing as is the public regarding all sorts of new innovations within and outside of this space.
Which means the chess game here is a bit difficult to see because Trump may well not nominate a further democrat to replace Kara M. Stein, but his blunder in appointing Clayton may well mean such lack of appointment would only limit the damage SEC can do rather than pushing through Trump’s electoral promise to stop choking businesses.
And they are chocking. Start-ups are at their low levels. IPOs are down. Years of red tape by the previous Democratic administration means agencies like SEC have effectively done nothing to adapt to the digital age.
The smart move here therefore may well be to appoint a reform minded Democratic nominee considering many of the SEC related issues are actually very bipartisan politically, such as adapting century old laws to the current age and removing or curtailing investment prohibitions.
Then votes may end up 3 to 2 in favor of reforms, in addition to Congress itself hopefully looking at some of these discriminatory laws which most likely have very little public support in their current form.
So the appointment of Roisman might not be quite a reason to get ones hopes up, but it is better than it was, unless he surprises. That’s because at the very least there will now be some pushbacks at the minimum and perhaps even some wins as SEC faces a new generation of investors with very 21st century demands.