Despite a campaign attacking Wall Street and their ties to the Democrats, Trump has opted for a Wall Street insider to head up the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Jay Clayton, Sullivan & Cromwell partner, is the man chosen to do the job of regulating Wall Street. Clayton’s clients represent a who’s who list of Wall Street companies including hedge funds, private equity firms, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Clayton’s wife works for the latter.
The President-elect said in a statement, “Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules. We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers.”
The choice of Clayton is arguably curious. Many in Wall Street backed Hilary Clinton, providing significant donations. Trump attacked the link between Goldman Sachs and the Democrat campaign, yet a number of positions have gone to Wall Street insiders.
These include, Goldman partner Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary, former Goldman President Gary Cohn for the top White House economic post, and Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department. By all accounts, it was their recommendation together with Steve Bannon that led Trump to pick Clayton to lead the SEC.
Clayton himself helped Goldman acquire $10bn in the 2008 government bailout program during the financial crisis.
In a statement Clayton said he planned to work with “key stakeholders in the financial system to make sure we provide investors and our companies with the confidence to invest together in America”, and would “carefully monitor our financial sector, as we set policy that encourages American companies to do what they do best: create jobs.”