Washington DC
20 January 2017
Reporter: Drew Nicol

Trump heralds changing of the guard at SEC


The imminent inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the US has signalled a major reshuffle in the highest ranks of US governing bodies.

Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White, who announced her plans to step down at the end of the Obama administration, will be replaced by lawyer Jay Clayton, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell.

White took the helm of the country’s top regulatory agency nearly four years ago and helped steer the market through the turmoil left in the wake of the financial crisis.

“It has been a tremendous honour to work alongside the incredibly talented and dedicated SEC staff members who do so much every day to protect investors and our markets,” said White.

“I am very proud of our three consecutive years of record enforcement actions, dozens of fundamental reforms through our rulemaking that have strengthened investor protections and market stability, and that the job satisfaction of our phenomenal staff has climbed in each of the last three years.”

Commenting on his nomination for vacant position and hinting at the new direction the SEC may take under new leadership, Trump said: “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.”

“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.”

The agency’s chief legal officer, Annie Small, is also set to leave later this month, after serving four years in its general counsel.

According to the SEC, Small has provided counsel on virtually all of the legal and policy issues before the commission.

White commented: “Annie Small is brilliant and has an extraordinary legal mind and tremendous judgment. She has always provided thoughtful and wise counsel on countless important and complex issues before the commission.”

“She is a true champion of the commission who uses her keen intellect and judgement to guide the commission to the right result.”

SEC chief of staff Andrew Donohue will be leaving the agency at the end of January.

Donohue, who was appointed by White in May 2015, is a senior adviser to the chair on all policy, management, and regulatory issues. He previously served as the director of the SEC’s division of investment management from 2006 to 2010.

Both Small and Donohue, whose replacement are yet to be announced, made a point of specifically thanking White for her service the agency.

Finally, the SEC has elevated Jennifer Diamantis to the role of chief of the enforcement division’s office of market intelligence.

She will manage the collection, analysis, and monitoring of the hundreds of thousands of tips, complaints, and referrals that the SEC receives each year.

Diamantis joined the agency in September 2016 as deputy chief of the office, but quickly becoming acting chief following the departure of Vincente Martinez in mid 2016.

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