On November 16, 2020, the SEC announced that Jay Clayton, who has led the agency since May 2017, is stepping down as chairman at the end of 2020. He will leave the agency as one of its longest serving chairs.
During Mr. Clayton’s term, much of the agency’s resources were concentrated on protecting the interests of main street individual investors through programs that fostered safeguarding investor interests, market integrity, and economic growth. Under Chairman Clayton’s leadership, the SEC also enhanced the ability of businesses of all sizes to raise capital in public and private markets.
The following highlights some of the agency’s accomplishments during Mr. Clayton’s term.
Strengthening the Commission’s Enforcement and Examination Programs
The SEC saw enforcement increase during Mr. Clayton’s term, with the agency bringing charges against individuals in nearly 68% of its cases. Since May 2017, the agency has:
pursued 3,152 enforcement cases
brought over 2,750 enforcement actions
obtained more than $14 billion in financial remedies
distributed approximately $3.5 billion to harmed investors
paid awards of approximately $565 million to whistleblowers.
Productive Rulemaking Agenda
The SEC experienced an historically constructive rulemaking period under Chairman Clayton’s leadership, implementing over 65 final rules to date from the SEC’s policy divisions and offices. Many of those final rules streamlined and improved rule sets that had not been reviewed and modernized in decades. Since 2017, the SEC has, to date, timely advanced an average of 86% of the initiatives on the near-term agendas. An emphasis on transparency and modernization helped propel the agency forward on a great number of significant rulemakings and other policy enhancements.
Navigating Changes in Markets and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Chairman Clayton and the Division and Office leaders steered the agency through the unexpected issues affecting investors and markets that the COVID-19 pandemic presented. They placed a priority on the health and safety of agency employees and market participants while seeking to ensure the integrity of the securities markets and acting to ensure that markets continued to function in times of heightened volatility, including by closely coordinating with market intermediaries, investors, other market participants, and domestic and international regulators.
Leading Efforts to Promote Diversity, Inclusion and Opportunity
During Chairman Clayton’s tenure, the SEC made many advances regarding diversity, inclusion, and opportunity within the agency, as well as the industries it oversees. This includes the release of the SEC’s first Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and the implementation of an agency-wide mentoring program. Mr. Clayton also chaired or sponsored several committees and councils agency wide.
More of the Chairman’s accomplishments can be viewed on the SEC’s website.