SEC Gets 2 New Commissioners; Agency to Advance its Aggressive (and Provocative) Rulemaking Agenda

On June 16, 2022, the U.S. Senate confirmed Jaime Lizárraga and Mark Uyeda as SEC Commissioners.  Once seated, the agency will have a full slate of five commissioners for the first time in six months, following the departure of Commissioner Elad Roisman.

Mark Uyeda, a long-time SEC staffer, rejoins the agency as the Republican party’s appointee after a brief detail as securities counsel to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.  Jaime Lizárraga is the Democrat party’s appointee and previously served as a senior advisor to Nancy Pelosi for the past 14 years. At full strength, the Commission is comprised of five Commissioners, including the Chairman, not more than three of whom can be appointed from one political party.

These two new Commissioners join at a time when the agency is in the midst of arguably its most ambitious and provocative rulemaking push in decades, including pending rulemakings addressing climate change, private funds, cybersecurity, and securities lending, along with a proposal that would greatly expand the scope of Regulation ATS in way that could lead to SEC regulation of DeFi and extend to aspects of centralized crypto exchanges.

We expect the SEC to turn its focus to adopting many of these now-pending rulemakings, despite recent extensions to some of the public comment periods, the unusually short length of which recently led to immense and unified ire and criticism from the industry.  It is unlikely that the addition of the two new Commissioners will have a significant effect on the overall direction and agenda of a Gensler-led SEC, with votes likely continuing along party lines.