Gary Gensler is the current chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He was nominated by President Joe Biden on Feb. 3, 2021, and confirmed by the Senate on April 14, 2021. He was sworn into office on April 17, 2021. Prior to his current position, Gensler was a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and former chair of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Gensler leads the SEC in its efforts to maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, to facilitate capital formation, and to protect investors and build public trust in the market. He will also oversee the commission's regulation of corporate takeovers and registration of financial services firms.
Gensler has spent a significant portion of his career working in government. Most recently, he led Biden's transition team in its planning of financial industry oversight. As chair of the CFTC from 2009 to 2014, Gensler was known for his tough enforcement of rules regulating swaps trading following the 2008 financial crisis.
Gensler has extensive experience aside from his work with the CFTC. He was a senior advisor to U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes in writing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. During the Clinton administration, he served in posts as assistant secretary of the Treasury and under secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance. Gensler was awarded the Treasury's highest honor, the Alexander Hamilton Award, for his service. His most recent position before becoming SEC chair was as professor of the Practice of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-director of MIT's Fintech@CSAIL.
During this time, Gensler got a first-hand perspective into the functioning of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Both technologies are supposed to revolutionize the financial services industry. Because he has an understanding of the intricacies of regulation and fintech, Gensler is often viewed as an intermediary in both worlds. For his part, the SEC chief has said that he is in favor of more oversight of the cryptocurrency industry to achieve public policy goals.
Gensler's work with the CFTC has given him a reputation as a tough regulator, and he is likely to please progressives with a hard-nosed approach to Wall Street. He is viewed as likely to advance rules that address key Democratic policies, such as social justice and climate change, including requiring greater corporate disclosure about the risks related to the latter.
Early Career and Education
Gensler holds an undergraduate degree and MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He began his career at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS).