Who Is Gary Gensler?

Gary Gensler is the current chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Nominated by President Joe Biden on Feb. 3, 2021, and confirmed by the Senate on April 14, 2021, Gensler was sworn into office on April 17, 2021.

In this role, Gensler leads the Securities and Exchange Commission to ensure fair, orderly, and efficient markets, facilitate capital formation, protect investors and build public trust in the market.

Key Takeaways

• Gary Gensler led President Biden's transition team in its review of the financial industry.

• He served as chair of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under President Obama.

• Gensler was a professor of the Practice of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

• He was co-director of MIT's Fintech@CSAIL and taught a course entitled "Blockchain and Money."

Early Life and Education

Gary Gensler was born on October 18, 1957, in Baltimore, MD, where he would later serve as chair of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission. Gensler holds an undergraduate degree in Economics and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Gensler began his career in 1979 at Goldman Sachs, where he became a partner in mergers & acquisitions and co-head of finance.

Government Service

During the Clinton administration, Gary Gensler served as assistant secretary of the Treasury and undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance. Gensler was a senior advisor to U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes in writing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Under President Obama, Gensler served as chair of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 2009 to 2014, where he was known for his tough enforcement of rules regulating the $400 trillion swaps market. Gensler's work with the CFTC has given him a reputation as a tough regulator.

Chair of the SEC

During his first year as chair of the SEC, Gensler addressed cryptocurrency oversight, insider trading, share buybacks, money market funds, and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). As SEC chair, Gensler looks to expand the whistleblower program, established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

As SEC head, Gensler launched a video series to engage everyday investors called Office Hours with Gary Gensler.

Notable Accomplishments

Gary Gensler is a recipient of both the Alexander Hamilton Award, the U.S. Treasury’s highest honor, and the 2014 Frankel Fiduciary Prize.

Did Gary Gensler Teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)?

Gary Gensler was a professor of the Practice of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management

Did Gary Gensler Work at Goldman Sachs?

Gary Gensler was a partner in the Mergers & Acquisition department at Goldman Sachs and was co-head of Finance.

Who Is the Current Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)?

Gary Gensler is the current chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Bottom Line

Gary Gensler is viewed as a top financial regulator and likely to advance President Biden's agenda for aggressive oversight of the financial industry. As a former professor at MIT, Gensler obtained a first-hand perspective of the function of cryptocurrencies and blockchain and is in favor of more oversight of the cryptocurrency industry.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Biography: Chair Gary Gensler."