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Outgoing SEC Chief Raises Concern With Trump, Defends Agency

Jan. 17, 2017, 8:26 PM

By Andrew Ramonas, Bloomberg BNA

Mary Jo White, the outgoing chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, today said she “very much” has concerns about whether Donald Trump’s incoming administration may “weaken or even reverse” the SEC’s response to the 2008 financial crisis.

White, who is set to step down before Trump takes office Jan. 20, said the agency’s independence is necessary to ensure investors are protected, even if its work draws criticism from interest groups.

“The present moment is a delicate one,” White said in remarks prepared for delivery at The Economic Club of New York.

“The post-crisis Commission has been revitalized and remains the investor’s strongest advocate, but it is more susceptible than ever to the erosion of its expertise and authority by the partisan tides.”

Trump has vowed to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act, which granted the SEC sweeping new powers in the wake of the financial crisis. Trump has picked Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton to succeed White as Wall Street’s top cop.

The SEC’s chairman and other commissioners must have the resources and motivation to “act expertly and with only our mission in mind” to protect investors, keep markets fair and help capital formation, White said.

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