President-elect Donald Trump said on Wednesday he intends to nominate Walter “Jay” Clayton, an attorney who advises clients on major Wall Street deals, to lead the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules at the same time,” Trump in a statement.
“We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers.”
Clayton is a partner in the New York office of law firm Sullivan & Cromwell who specializes in advising clients on public and private mergers and acquisitions and capital-raising efforts. He also helps companies navigate regulatory and enforcement actions, including a number of cases that involved mortgage securities.
Clayton has worked for high-profile clients, including the initial public offerings of Alibaba Group Holding Company and Oaktree Capital Group.
During the height of the 2008 financial crisis, Clayton also worked on major deals involving big banks, including Barclays Capital’s acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ assets, the sale of Bear Stearns to JP Morgan Chase, and the U.S. Treasury Department’s capital investment in Goldman Sachs , according to his law firm’s website.
By selecting an attorney who is deeply steeped in capital-raising deals, Trump is likely signaling that the SEC will be looking to scale back regulations that some critics see as burdensome and may be hindering corporate growth.
Many Republicans in recent years have criticized the SEC for focusing too much on enforcement, and not enough on its other missions, which include writing rules that help promote capital formation.
“In light of Jay’s vast experience in capital formation, his appointment as SEC Chair is a strong positive signal the economy is a top priority of President-elect Trump and his team, and that the SEC will work together with Main Street to meet the country’s economic goals of full employment and healthy growth,” said Jonathan Macey, a professor at the Yale Law School.