Senate OKs tough former regulator as market watchdog chief

The vote Wednesday was 53-45, mostly along party lines in the narrowly Democratic-controlled Senate, to confirm Gensler, an expert with experience as a strong markets regulator during the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Now a professor of economics and management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Gensler was an assistant Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and later headed the CFTC during Barack Obama’s term.

Gensler was chief financial officer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign against Donald Trump and an economic adviser to Obama in his 2008 presidential bid.

Jay Clayton, a former Wall Street lawyer who headed the SEC during the Trump administration, presided over a deregulatory push to soften rules affecting the financial markets, as Trump pledged when he took office.

Gensler comes armed with receptiveness to new financial technologies and cryptocurrency.

At his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Gensler said that if confirmed to the SEC post he would work to strengthen transparency and accountability in the markets.

The roiling stock-trading drama involving GameStop shares earlier this year has spurred clamour for tighter regulation of Wall Street.

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