President Joe Biden’s choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission is coming before a Senate panel for his confirmation hearing at a moment when a roiling stock-trading drama has spurred clamor for tighter regulation of Wall Street.
Gary Gensler, a chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama administration, has experience as a tough markets regulator during the financial crisis. More recently he has been in the academic world.
Biden’s selection of Gensler to lead the SEC signals a goal of turning the Wall Street watchdog agency toward an activist role after a deregulatory stretch during the Trump administration.
The Senate Banking Committee is weighing Gensler’s confirmation in a virtual hearing Tuesday. Also being vetted and questioned is Rohit Chopra, a member of the Federal Trade Commission who is Biden’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Gensler is promising to work toward strengthening transparency and accountability in the markets. That will enable people “to invest with confidence and be protected from fraud and manipulation," he said in written testimony prepared for the hearing.