July 18, 2018

By Carol V. Gilden

In early July, Michael Piwowar left the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) after serving as Commissioner since 2013, including a four-month stint as acting Chair in 2017. Nominated to take his place is Elad Roisman, another Republican who is currently chief counsel to the Senate Banking Committee. Also stepping down this year, perhaps as early as the end of summer, is Democrat SEC Commissioner Kara Stein. While these changes will no doubt alter the dynamic at the SEC, they will not change the balance of power at the Commission, which has been bringing fewer enforcement actions since President Trump took office.

The President, subject to Senate approval, appoints all five Commissioners: two Democrats, two Republicans and the Chair, typically of the President’s own party. Since the Chair is both the SEC’s chief executive and the tie-breaking vote, the party that controls the White House also controls the SEC’s agenda and direction. The Commissioners’ terms last five years and are staggered, with one Commissioner’s term ending each June 5, although, as with Stein whose term ended last June, Commissioners may continue to serve an additional 18 months if they are not replaced before then or resign sooner.

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