Mary Jo White, Nominee for Chair of the SEC, Appears Before Senate Banking Committee

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On March 12, Mary Jo White, President Obama’s nominee to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, appeared at her confirmation hearing before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

In prepared testimony, Ms. White highlighted a few of her priorities for the SEC, if she is confirmed. First, Ms. White noted the need to complete, “in as timely and smart a way as possible,” rulemaking required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. In that regard, Ms. White underscored the need for a “transparent and robust” analysis of the economic impact of any such rulemaking, from the outset, to ensure effective and efficient rulemaking without unnecessary burdens or competitive harm. Second, she highlighted the need to strengthen the enforcement function of the SEC, with a view toward instilling confidence and a sense of fairness among investors and other market participants. Finally, she expressed the need for the SEC to keep pace with a high-tech, high-speed and dispersed marketplace, noting a greater sense of urgency is required to address issues associated with modern day securities markets.

Although most committee members appeared supportive of Ms. White’s confirmation, committee members raised issues relating to potential conflicts of interest arising from her (and her husband’s) legal practices. Questions posed by committee members also evidenced concerns about a so-called “revolving door” between the SEC and the businesses it regulates. Ms. White responded that she does not necessarily embrace the policy views of her private clients, and will “work as zealously as is possible” on behalf of the American public as her client.

To view the complete text of Mary Jo White’s prepared testimony, click here.