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May 2, 2017

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton: The New Cop on the Wall Street Beat Must Enforce the Law Without Fear or Favor

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Contact: Nick Jacobs, 202-618-6430 or

Washington, D.C. – Upon the expected Senate confirmation later today of Mr. Jay Clayton’s nomination to become the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, President and CEO of Better Markets released the following statement:

“The Securities and Exchange Commission’s new Chairman, Jay Clayton, will now lead the agency that is the primary cop on the Wall Street beat.  He is the leader of the agency responsible for protecting the savings and investments of the American people in capital markets that provide the fuel for economic growth and prosperity if properly regulated and policed.  If not, then investors are ripped off, markets malfunction and crash, and high risk if not illegal conduct flourishes, as happened in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

“Mr. Clayton faces a long to-do list.  First and foremost, he must act decisively to restore investor confidence.  That means ending the double standard where the biggest Wall Street firms and their executives have been allowed to use shareholders’ money to avoid personal responsibility and accountability when their firms egregiously and repeatedly break the law.  This sends the message that crime pays at the elite, industry leading firms.  He must usher in a new era where the SEC enforces the law without fear or favor and always holds individuals personally and meaningfully accountable.  To do that, he must fight against political efforts to limit, weaken and gut the agency’s enforcement powers and independence.

“Mr. Clayton must also move quickly to implement, strengthen and enforce the many reforms put in place after the worst financial crash since the Great Depression.  While he may not agree with everything in the Dodd-Frank law, it is the law which he is sworn to uphold.  In particular, Mr. Clayton should prioritize finalizing the pay ‘claw back’ rule and the remaining derivatives rules.  Moreover, the SEC needs to vigorously investigate and correct market structure weaknesses and manipulation, regardless of whether they are done by people or computers programed by people.  The SEC must also fix the conflict-ridden credit rating agencies and  should adopt a strong fiduciary duty rule that requires broker-dealers to always put their clients’ best interests first. 

“We hope Mr. Clayton knows that the shortest path to economic growth, job creation and broad-based prosperity would be to put Main Street’s interests first, protect investors and markets, and fearlessly enforce the rule of law.  If so, we look forward to working with him and his team.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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