SEC chief Jay Clayton to exit agency after Dec. 23

Politics

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 08: Jay Clayton, Chairman and the Securities and Exchange Commission testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill May 8, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Subcommittee is hearing testimony regarding FY2020 budget requests. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton will leave the agency on Dec. 23, he said in a statement.

Clayton announced his exit Wednesday, and recently sent a letter to President Donald Trump informing him of his planned exit date. Clayton had previously said he would step down from the agency at the end of the year, and the letter did not say who would lead the agency in his absence.

Here is the text of Calyton’s letter to the president in its entirety:

Dear Mr. President,

It has been the honor and privilege of my professional life to serve the American people as Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The absolute trust and unwavering support you and your economic team provided to me and the 4,500 women and men of the Commission has enabled us to pursue our mission to the benefit of the more than 65 million American households who invest in and depend on our markets.  No agency leader could ask for more in terms of freedom, resources and cooperation.

Your administration facilitated remarkably productive engagement across the federal financial regulatory community.  You did so by selecting a diverse collection of skilled, experienced and dedicated professionals, including Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, Chair Jay Powell, Chairman Jelena McWilliams, Chairman Heath Tarbert, Chairman Rodney Hood, and Vice Chair Randy Quarles, to name just a few.  In so doing, you provided each of us with an unprecedented combination of expertise and experience to draw upon in furtherance of our respective mandates.

The results are impressive.  Through these coordinated efforts, and with the help of Congress, our capital markets have been resilient, including through the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our public and private markets have grown considerably – today, the S&P 500 index is approximately 65 percent above its level on December 30, 2016.  At the SEC, we focused on modernizing our regulatory framework, adopting over 90 rules, many in areas that had not been substantively addressed in decades.  Importantly, our inspection and enforcement efforts focused on the needs of those tens of millions of American households.  We obtained orders for over $14 billion in monetary remedies in enforcement actions and returned a record of approximately $3.5 billion to harmed investors.  I agree with you that we must fuel job growth and prosperity by promoting capital formation and cutting red tape for entrepreneurs and small, medium and large businesses while providing appropriate investor protections and ensuring that bad actors know they have no place in our markets.

As we recently discussed, I am in the process of wrapping up my agenda and will depart on December 23rd.  I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and all the best for the future.  Thank you again for the faith you placed in me to lead the wonderful women and men of the SEC.

Very truly yours,

Jay Clayton

Chairman

Reuters contributed to this report.

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