Gary Gensler, the SEC’s new strongman who worries Wall Street

Former Goldman Sachs is a cryptocurrency expert and fiercely fought derivatives

Gary Gensler, the SEC's new strongman who worries Wall Street

The SEC’s new strongman, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, has a long past.

First of all, he was one of the youngest partners in Goldman Sachs history.

From there he went on to become the darling of progressive Democrats as a regulator of the derivatives business during the Obama administration.

What could Gensler’s arrival mean? Executives are already bracing for a more than likely ‘let go’ turn, which was the approach taken by the SEC during the Trump administration.

A tough man

Gensler is known for winning hard-hitting battles against financial titans when he headed the derivatives regulator after the 2008 financial crisis.

For Justin Slaughter, a consultant at Mercury Strategies in Washington, who worked with him at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, his landing “means regulation and its enforcement is about to get a lot more stringent.”


In the SEC, Gensler will have to face a series of looming crises, as he did while running the CFTC, due to concerns about a bubble in stocks from rising tensions with China.

It is more likely to scare Wall Street with a direct approach to attacking what progressives see as many of the excesses of the Trump era: the skyrocketing growth of private capital to policies that they say put banks, merchants and corporations executives ahead of family investors.

Adverse reputation

The Democrats are counting on Gensler, who declines to comment on his possible nomination.

It will also face pressure to avoid forcing companies to disclose their political spending, climate change risks and the diversity of their employees.

“I know earned a reputation as a Wall Street adversary because he came from the industry and understood the business to be able to reject their arguments when they were hollow, ”explains Graham Steele, director of the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford University.

“What really puzzles a lot of people is that it’s pretty clear that you don’t need them,” Katz said. “He doesn’t need to look for work again, he has earned his money. He’s not terribly interested in who he’s mad at or not, and that’s very powerful. “

His money comes from his years at Goldman, which he joined in the late 1970s from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gensler had stints trading stocks and bonds, and also worked on the M&A team, before becoming a partner. He left the firm in 1997.

Progressive skepticism

His Wall Street experience did not win him friends, and this caused him to meet opposition when President Barack Obama selected him to head the CFTC in 2009.

The Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, in the wake of the financial crisis, tried to block his nomination.

But Gensler, known for wearing ties that are too long for his short stature and having holes in the soles of his loafers, eventually won over his critics.

Under Gensler, the CFTC, long considered a nondescript institution, became a major Wall Street regulator.

At the same time, his aggressive style left some of the staff exhausted.

That approach can be challenging for Gensler at the SEC, which is more than five times the size of the CFTC.

Former Goldman Sachs is a cryptocurrency expert and fiercely fought derivatives


Gary Gensler, the SEC's new strongman who worries Wall Street

The SEC’s new strongman, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, has a long past.

First of all, he was one of the youngest partners in Goldman Sachs history.

From there he went on to become the darling of progressive Democrats as a regulator of the derivatives business during the Obama administration.

What could Gensler’s arrival mean? Executives are already bracing for a more than likely ‘let go’ turn, which was the approach taken by the SEC during the Trump administration.

A tough man

Gensler is known for winning hard-hitting battles against financial titans when he headed the derivatives regulator after the 2008 financial crisis.

For Justin Slaughter, a consultant at Mercury Strategies in Washington, who worked with him at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, his landing “means regulation and its enforcement is about to get a lot more stringent.”


In the SEC, Gensler will have to face a series of looming crises, as he did while running the CFTC, due to concerns about a bubble in stocks from rising tensions with China.

It is more likely to scare Wall Street with a direct approach to attacking what progressives see as many of the excesses of the Trump era: the skyrocketing growth of private capital to policies that they say put banks, merchants and corporations executives ahead of family investors.

Adverse reputation

The Democrats are counting on Gensler, who declines to comment on his possible nomination.

It will also face pressure to avoid forcing companies to disclose their political spending, climate change risks and the diversity of their employees.

“I know earned a reputation as a Wall Street adversary because he came from the industry and understood the business to be able to reject their arguments when they were hollow, ”explains Graham Steele, director of the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford University.

“What really puzzles a lot of people is that it’s pretty clear that you don’t need them,” Katz said. “He doesn’t need to look for work again, he has earned his money. He’s not terribly interested in who he’s mad at or not, and that’s very powerful. “

His money comes from his years at Goldman, which he joined in the late 1970s from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gensler had stints trading stocks and bonds, and also worked on the M&A team, before becoming a partner. He left the firm in 1997.

Progressive skepticism

His Wall Street experience did not win him friends, and this caused him to meet opposition when President Barack Obama selected him to head the CFTC in 2009.

The Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, in the wake of the financial crisis, tried to block his nomination.

But Gensler, known for wearing ties that are too long for his short stature and having holes in the soles of his loafers, eventually won over his critics.

Under Gensler, the CFTC, long considered a nondescript institution, became a major Wall Street regulator.

At the same time, his aggressive style left some of the staff exhausted.

That approach can be challenging for Gensler at the SEC, which is more than five times the size of the CFTC.