SEC Commissioner Allison Herren Lee Announces Departure (Sorta)

On March 15, 2022, SEC Commissioner Allison Herren Lee announced she will not seek a second term once her current term expires in June of this year. The departure of Commissioner Lee, a Democrat-appointee, follows the January 2022 departure of Republic-appointee Commissioner Elad Roisman and sets the table for paired nominations of two new SEC Commissioners (eventually).

During her tenure, Commissioner Lee has focused on environmental, social, and governance issues, advocating for climate risk disclosure, shareholder rights, and transparency in private markets, among others. Lee was Acting-Chair of the SEC from January 2021 to April 2021. Lee intends to step down once her successor has been confirmed. While her term ends in June, Commissioners are able to serve up to 18 additional months beyond term expiration without being reconfirmed.

Given the current pace of political machinery in Washington, D.C., it’s unlikely that replacements for Commissioners Lee and Roisman will be nominated and confirmed before the end of summer (and a stretch for that to even happen in 2022). Until then, the Commission will maintain its current composition, with Commissioner Hester Peirce as the lone Republican voice opposite Chair Gary Gensler and Commissioners Lee and Caroline Crenshaw. At full capacity, the SEC is comprised of five Commissioners, no more than three of whom can be from the same political party.