Wall Street lawyer to head Securities and Exchange Commission


Notes on the Trump transition

Wall Street lawyer to head Securities and Exchange Commission

Tom Hall

5 January 2017

Yesterday, Donald Trump selected Jay Clayton, a top lawyer advising Wall Street firms, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the chief regulatory agency of Wall Street. The pick is yet another indication of his incoming administration’s agenda of deregulation and the promotion of unbridled profiteering by American finance.

Clayton is a partner at the prestigious Sullivan and Cromwell law firm, where he has provided legal advice to Wall Street banks such as Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs, Ally Financial and Bear Stearns. The latter’s collapse was a catalyst for the 2008 financial crash. His expertise, according to the firm’s web site, is in areas such as “public and private mergers and acquisitions transactions, capital markets offerings, regulatory and enforcement proceedings, and other matters where multidisciplinary advice and experience is valued.” The firm states that Clayton “also advises several high-net-worth families regarding their public and private investments.”

Clayton was involved in the 2014 initial public offering of Chinese internet firm Alibaba, the most lucrative IPO in history. He worked on deals by Barclays and JP Morgan Chase in the aftermath of the financial crisis to acquire the assets of collapsed investment banks Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. Sullivan and Cromwell also represented JP Morgan Chase in its settlement with the Justice Department in 2013 over its fraudulent sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities in the leadup to the financial crisis. The bank paid $13 billion in exchange for the equivalent of a general amnesty for its illegal activities.

Clayton’s wife works as a private…

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