By Bill Flook
President Donald Trump on December 28, 2020, named Commissioner Elad Roisman as acting chairman of the SEC days after the departure of Jay Clayton. Roisman, a former Senate Banking Committee staffer who has served on the commission for two years, will bridge the gap in leadership at the commission amid the transition to the Joe Biden administration, which has yet to name its pick for the next SEC chairman.
Roisman, in a statement, said he is “humbled and honored to serve as the acting chairman.”
“During the time I am in this role, I am fully committed to maintaining the steady course that Chairman Clayton charted during his admirable tenure,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the incredible SEC staff and my fellow Commissioners as we steward this agency into the new year.”
Roisman was chief counsel at the Senate Banking Committee before taking a Republican spot on the SEC, replacing Michael Piwowar, who himself had served a several-month stint as acting SEC chairman in early 2017.
Clayton resigned on December 23, a previously-announced move that holds with the tradition of SEC chairs stepping down following the presidential elections. He had mostly prioritized deregulation during his tenure, advancing an agenda generally supported by Roisman and the other Republican commissioner, Hester Peirce.
Roisman served as Clayton’s point-man on proxy reforms, an effort that this year yielded two controversial rulemakings. In July, the SEC finalized Release No. 34-89372, Exemptions from the Proxy Rules for Proxy Voting Advice, which impose new requirements on proxy advisory firms. And in September, the SEC issued rules in Release No. 34-89964, Procedural Requirements and Resubmission Thresholds under Exchange Act Rule 14a-8, which raise the bar for shareholders to both submit and resubmit proposals at a company’s annual meeting. Democratic lawmakers, institutional investors, and activist groups blasted both rules as a gift to industry.
This article originally appeared in the December 30, 2020 edition of Accounting & Compliance Alert, available on Checkpoint.
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