US Senate votes to confirm Gary Gensler as SEC chair

Regulation

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Gary Gensler to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC.

In a vote of 53-45 today, the Senate members confirmed the former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gensler, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, volunteered to join then President-elect Joe Biden’s team as a financial expert in November. Biden announced the former CFTC was his pick to chair the SEC shortly before his inauguration in January.

During his confirmation hearings with the Senate Banking Committee last month, Gensler was seemingly evasive about whether he would implement changes to SEC policy regarding crypto. However, he said he supported some of the body’s prior decisions, like the exclusion of Bitcoin (BTC) from the commission’s regulatory purview.

“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have brought new thinking to financial planning and investor inclusion,” said Gensler at the time. “I’d work with fellow commissions both to promote the new innovation but also, at the core, ensure investor protection. If something were a security, for instance, it comes under security regulation, under the SEC.”

Gensler served as chairman for the CFTC under President Barack Obama from 2009 until 2014. He was known as a stringent regulator during his time as CFTC head, overseeing reforms to the $400 trillion financial derivatives market.

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