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SEC close to full strength as Senate confirms GOP commissioner

The SEC is poised to be back at full strength after the Senate confirmed Elad Roisman to fill the regulator’s open Republican seat, likely providing a boost for the Trump-appointed chairman who leads the agency.

Roisman, who has been serving as chief counsel to the Senate Banking Committee, will join the SEC as Chairman Jay Clayton tries to secure enough support from commissioners to pass rules on his agenda. Near the top of Clayton’s list is a sweeping effort to overhaul conflict-of-interest regulations for Wall Street brokers. He will probably need Roisman’s vote to get the proposal over the goal line.

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Since early July, the typically five-member SEC has been down to Clayton, Republican Commissioner Hester Peirce, and Democrats Kara Stein and Robert Jackson Jr. Commissioners have been approving enforcement actions against companies and individuals accused of wrongdoing. But amid policy disputes, the agency hasn’t tackled some of the bigger issues that Clayton has said he wants to get done. Clayton is a political independent who leans to the right.

Elad Roisman, commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Roisman, the banking committee's chief counsel, will fill the seat of Michael Piwowar who stepped down as a commissioner earlier in July.
Elad Roisman, commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Roisman, the banking committee's chief counsel, will fill the seat of Michael Piwowar who stepped down as a commissioner earlier in July. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Besides the brokerage rule, Clayton has said he wants to remove SEC barriers that may make it difficult for companies to raise money and enable more investors to buy stakes in less-regulated assets. The SEC also intends to finalize a rule that would make it easier for investment firms to win approval for new ETFs and, along with other regulators, needs to sign-off on changes to the Volcker Rule.

Before working for Senate Republicans, Roisman served as an aide to former SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher. He also worked as a lawyer for NYSE Euronext, according to his LinkedIn profile.

With Roisman’s appointment, Republicans could have a big advantage at the SEC by year end. Stein has to step down as a Democrat commissioner in December. Senate Democrats want President Donald Trump to pick Allison Lee, a former SEC enforcement attorney, to replace Stein, people familiar with the matter said last month. But Trump hasn’t yet nominated Lee, raising the possibility that the SEC will be comprised of Clayton, two Republicans and one Democrat when Stein leaves.