Top US securities regulator to exit

New York, Nov 16 (AFP/APP):The top US securities regulator announced Monday he would step down at the end of 2020, exiting a few weeks before the President-elect Joe Biden administration takes office.

Jay Clayton, a corporate lawyer prior to being tapped by President Donald Trump in 2017 to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will leave the agency at the end of the year, the SEC announced.

The move comes about 10 days after the contentious US election was called for former vice president Biden, who has included in his transition team a number of Democratic officials known to favor tougher penalties for corporate wrongdoing and more aggressive oversight than that employed by the Trump administration.

The SEC in a press release pointed to tough regulatory actions under Clayton, including a record $4.68 billion in monetary remedies in fiscal 2020 and $3.5 billion in payments to harmed investors.

The agency also pointed to a trove of new rules including changes to simplify corporate disclosures and establishing a consistent framework for exchange traded funds.

Clayton was briefly enmeshed in a Trump administration controversy in June when Attorney General William Barr announced Clayton would be the next US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, replacing Geoffrey Berman.

But Berman initially refused to leave the office and exited only after being fired by Trump and replaced by Berman’s deputy, Audrey Strauss.

Berman agreed to leave because Strauss’ appointment respected the “normal operation of law” that would preserve the office’s “ensuring tradition of integrity and independence.”

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